A problem property includes violations of building, fire, zoning health or sanitation codes and often presents itself as a health hazard or public safety concern. The Unit receives referrals from neighbors, police or fire officials and City Councillors who suspect abandonment, considerable neglect, or in some cases, illegal activity. The multi-departmental Unit takes a proactive approach and coordinates its efforts to review possible solutions and identify available resources to remediate the particular problem. The goal is to secure the owner’s cooperation in taking the necessary steps to bring the property in compliance. The MRA offers low interest loans that may assist in the financing of the needed remediation.
If a property owner fails to cooperate or if the situation is urgent and warrants immediate attention then fines may be issued, the City may take the appropriate steps to intervene and correct the problem or the matter may be referred to the Legal Department. After all other avenues have been exhausted and for egregious properties that have a long history of violations and complaints, the Unit may utilize M.G.L.c. 111, section 127I which provides the mechanism for housing receivership. Since the Unit’s inception in February 2012, there have been significant results in terms of cleaning up properties and improving the quality of life in the City’s neighborhoods.
Vacant and Foreclosed Properties
The number of vacant properties has increased as a result of the current economic climate. A single abandoned property that is not maintained can significantly impact an entire neighborhood. In response, the Malden City Council has revised the vacant property ordinance which requires registration fees and minimum standards of maintenance. The revised ordinance is designed so that the fees collected are deposited into a revolving fund that serves as a resource to address those properties that are seriously neglected and not maintained. The Director of Public Health/Permits, Inspections & Planning Services maintains the list of vacant properties, conducts inspections of properties and then effectuates any clean-ups when needed.
All property, whether occupied or vacant, must be maintained in good repair and in a safe and sanitary condition. Nuisances such as overgrowth, debris, and trash cause blight in our neighborhoods and impair public health and safety. By working together to address properties that may be of concern we can keep our neighborhoods safe and clean.