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      City cracks down on owners of blighted properties

      The updated vacant building registry law now requires owners of vacant properties to pay a $ 200 fee to be on the registry.

      B lighted properties throughout Toledo neighborhoods have become a big problem in the city. Now, city leaders are cracking down on property owners who own abandoned buildings and do nothing with it.

      "We're going to hold mortgagees and owners accountable for these properties , " Toledo City Councilman Adam Martinez said.

      T uesday night , the city council made changes to vacant residential building registration. The updated law now requires owners of vacant properties to pay a $200 fee to be on the registry.

      " T his isn't anti-business legislation, this is legislation that really helps empower neighborhoods and reclaim a lot of these vacant properties , " Martinez said.

      C ity leaders say a change in the vacant building registry was needed to address safety, health and economic concerns that abandoned houses like this can have on a neighborhood.

      "It's the broken window theory, if one window is broken, it brings down the property value. we owe it to our citizens to make sure we're doing everything in our power to make sure we're protecting their investment , " Martinez said.

      C ouncilman D. Michael Collins says even with the legislation, it's going to be tough to win the battle over blight in Toledo. He supports the law, but adds you need to look closely at lien and title laws in each state.

      O hio is a lien state, which means the titles of the property is with the buyer , not the lender. So, if the house is foreclosed on, "that doesn't require that organization, institution or individual to transfer the properties from the person whose name is in it in the present to theirs," Collins said.

      C ity leaders say the point of this updated law is to target large companies that own property in the city and aren't taking care of it. Money from the $200 fee will go to nuisance inspectors and cutting grass around properties.

      T he law will not affect people or businesses trying to work with the city.