Taking Action on Problem Properties

Earlier this week I had a chance to reconnect with a neighbour, Melanie, who for the past five years has been struggling with a problem property next door to her, which has finally now been demolished.

In 2022, my colleague, Councillor Ashley Salvador (Ward Metis), moved a motion to have the city develop a plan to tackle the issue of problem properties. The motion passed and we are already seeing results such as a reduction in structure fires.

What is a “Problem Property”?

  • Have a history of repeated or excessive neglect, disrepair and/or safety concerns
  • Are a significant public health risk and/or a higher risk for fires 
  • Are abandoned and unsecured and may be accessible to the public
  • Are known for repeated, ongoing criminal activity (for example, drug trafficking or gang-related crime)
  • Have a history of deliberate violations and/or noncompliance by property owners or tenants
  • Require a coordinated response from several agencies (for example, various City departments, Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Sheriffs)

Learn morehttps://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/problem-properties-of-edmonton

 

What is the city doing to address Problem Properties?

  • A new tax subclass is applied to these properties so they pay higher taxes until the property issues are solved. 
  • At the cost of the owner, enhanced enforcement of safety issues (fire risks, unsecured areas of derelict properties, failure to meet minimum housing standards, illegal activity, health and safety issues, development permit violations, and other infractions). This could mean fines, clean up/board up directives or more, up to and including demolition.
  • Relationship building with tenants and owners to ensure they are aware of the issues and consequences of not addressing them.

I want to be clear, these properties are not merely unsightly, poorly kept, or party houses. These are abandoned, vacant, or derelict homes that pose an enormous safety risk to the community, especially due to fire. All properties must maintain minimum property standards as set out in the Community Standards bylaw and Municipal Government Act. 

The demolition of a privately owned property is a significant undertaking and legal process that is not taken lightly by the City. Only if the property is assessed as unsafe structurally and the legislative authority to proceed is present, would the demolition process be initiated. 

 

What can you do if you have a Problem Property in your neighbourhood? 

Report problem properties if you are aware of them, and talk to your neighbours and friends to make sure they know about this program and that they can report too. 

I need your help.

Because City Bylaw operate on a complaints-based system, and officers rarely have time for proactive policing, it is critical that you are the eyes and ears of your neighbourhood. If something seems off, say something. If you see a bylaw issue, please use 311 or contact my office and please make sure your complaints are documented. Pictures especially (which you can upload using the 311 app) with specific details are very helpful and help save time.

 

Read more about the progress: https://transforming.edmonton.ca/edmontons-problem-property-initiative-expands-derelict-building-demolitions/

 

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