Property doesn’t become blighted overnight.
Years of neglect and lack of upkeep yield blighted properties. Code enforcement, if implemented, works to help in some instances. But if the community hasn’t been consistently enforcing building codes and maintaining standards, it will be an uphill battle. No one wants to see play that out on the front page of the newspaper. If your community is not diligent at enforcing existing building codes, it’s never too late to start.
A carrot and stick approach to code enforcement works better than a stick alone.
Holding property owners accountable for the condition of their property by using the heavy hand of code enforcement alone may not be well-received. This is especially true if a blind eye has been turned to deteriorating conditions. It might be best to start with a property owner education seminar or series of public relations outreach efforts. If your city is proactive on informing property owners about your (renewed) desire to enforce building codes, some owners may proactively address their issues. At least then you can say they were informed.
Public sector investments in property rehabilitation is often required
For whatever reason a person comes into ownership of a property, they may not have the means to keep it up or make significant repairs. Undertaking transformative rehabilitation is often the most expensive of property investment adventures. What could appear to be a simple rehab project often uncovers deeper issues. One can find aging infrastructure, structural issues, and problems lurking under surfaces. Because significant improvements to existing buildings can be so expensive, these projects often need public sector support. Investments made in a community’s architectural treasures will reap benefits for the long term. And, as redevelopment occurs, it tends to go viral. Once one property owner starts investing in a property, others decide to make improvements and the energy spreads to even more buildings. We’ve seen the first few projects in a redevelopment area require more public investment but as the flywheel begins to spin, the private sector takes the wheel and public sector support diminishes.