Vacant building requirements

Owners are legally required to register, secure and maintain vacant property.


A vacant or abandoned building is defined as being unoccupied with any of the following:

  • No current lease or rental agreement
  • No security
  • Boarding up for security
  • Multiple code violations
  • Unoccupied for more than 30 days

A building can also be considered vacant or abandoned if it is partially occupied but has been cited for blight.

Annual requirements

Every year, you are legally required to document the following.

Secure your vacant property

The property must be secured so that only people you authorize are able to access it.

Maintain your vacant building

Inside the property:

  • Prevent damage from rain and plumbing leaks
  • Regularly clear garbage and other debris
  • Make sure the property does not have pests like mice or insects
  • Shut off utilities that are not needed for building maintenance

Outside the property:

  • Maintain landscaping and other plants
  • Regularly clear trash and debris. Clean up graffiti
  • Make sure parts of your building are safe and in good condition, including:
    • Paint and finishes
    • Foundation
    • Roof
    • Chimneys and flues
    • Gutters, downspouts, scuppers, and flashing
    • Windows and skylights
    • Exterior stairs and decks

Post a sign for the public

The sign must be at least 8.5 by 11 inches, and be visible by the public. It should also be protected from the weather. See a sample sign.

Include the name, address, and phone number of the owner of record (or authorized agent).

If there is a notice of default or foreclosure recorded for the property, also include the lender’s name, address, and phone number.

Register and pay fees for your vacant building every year

Every year, we will send a letter reminding you to:

Once the property is no longer vacant, remove your building from the vacant or abandoned building list.

Last updated August 31, 2022