• City of Aurora Now Requires Registration of Vacant or Foreclosed Properties
  • June 16, 2016 | Author: Casey B. Hicks
  • Law Firm: Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. - Chicago Office
  • Ordinance Number 016-004 was recently enacted in Aurora, Illinois and requires all vacant or foreclosed properties to be registered by the owner with the city. The ordinance defines “owner” broadly; it includes a mortgagee that has instituted foreclosure proceedings against the mortgagor, or a mortgagee that is authorized to act to secure or repair the property, according to the terms of the mortgage.

    Under the guidelines of the ordinance, the director of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Standards will evaluate all buildings believed to be vacant. If the director determines a building is vacant, a notice will be sent to all owners and individuals responsible for registration of the building. Within 10 days of issuance of the notice, the owner must register the vacant property and pay a fee of $250. Within 10 days of registration, the property owner must remove all combustible materials, waste, rubbish or debris and excess vegetation, including grass, over eight inches high. The owner is also responsible for immediately boarding and/or securing all windows, doors and openings.

    Within 14 days of filing a foreclosure complaint, or completing a deed in place of foreclosure, the property must be registered, which also carries a $250 fee. At the time of registration, the owner must certify that the property was inspected within the last 30 days and verify whether the property was found abandoned, vacant, or showed evidence of vacancy. If the property is not vacant at the time of registration, the property must be inspected every 30 days to determine if the property becomes vacant. If it is determined at a subsequent inspection that the property is vacant, the person owner must file an amended registration declaring the property vacant, along with payment of an additional $250.

    If the owner or person foreclosed upon does not reside in the city, another person must be designated as responsible for the property and authorized on the owner’s behalf to receive any notice, order or summons issued. That person must be 21 or older and live within 30 miles of the city. The owner must also complete a “Registration Statement of Intent,” which is a document that outlines the expected period of vacancy, and any plans to rehabilitate, maintain, sell or demolish the property.

    Property registration must be renewed every six months, in January and July of each year. The renewal fee is $250 for the first 24 months. If a property remains in foreclosure or is vacant beyond the 24-month period, the renewal fee increases to $500. A fine of $50 to $500 per month may be imposed on properties vacant for three or more years.

    During the registration period, access to the property must be provided to the city to allow for inspections and to determine compliance with city codes and ordinances. Anyone found to be in violation of this ordinance is subject to a fine of $50 to $750 per day. Each continuing day is a separate violation and considered a separate offense.

    For additional information, interested parties can review the Vacant Property Registration and Foreclosure Property Registration forms as well as the ordinance online. A property preservation company should be used to register any properties in Aurora as soon as possible, whether those properties are foreclosed or vacant.