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Residential Abandoned Property Program

League of California Cities - 2009 - Helen Putnam Award


The Residential Abandoned Property Program, established in the city of Chula Vista, California, has become a model for cities nationwide in helping protect neighborhoods from blight. The program requires mortgage lenders to maintain abandoned properties at neighborhood standards.


The Residential Abandoned Property Registration Program is intended to address those properties that are vacant and financially distressed. The program requires mortgage lenders to inspect defaulted properties to confirm occupancy. If a property is found to be vacant, the program requires that the lender exercise the abandonment clause within their mortgage contract, register the property with the City and immediately begin to secure and maintain the property to the neighborhood standard.

If properties are not registered or maintained, violators are fined $100 to $500 a day. If they don’t pay, the City places a lien on the property.

The program, adopted by the City Council in 2007, is precedent setting. City Code Enforcement Manager Doug Leeper, who created the program, has been contacted by more than 350 cities looking for help in crafting new legislation to deal with the fallout of homes abandoned during the nation’s foreclosure crisis.

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Tags: Economic and Community Development

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