CINCINNATI - Cincinnati City Council is hoping to crack down on lenders that leave vacant properties in disrepair.
"We're not here to just start penalizing lenders, what we would like to do is find ways to collectively work together to keep this cancer from spreading in our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Cecil Thomas.
Council passed a pilot ordinance designed to force lenders to take better care of vacant properties.
Experts say a vacant building can cost nearby home owners $7,000 in property value.
"The spirit is to get the lenders to number one, maybe cooperate a little easier with the tenants that are actually in the property, because one thing we don't want is these properties vacant if possible," said Thomas.
Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld agrees with Thomas saying that if banks are too big to fail they shouldn't be too big to mow the grass.
Many residents agree with Sittenfeld's position.
"We bailed them out before. Do we have to continue to bail them out by taking care of the properties that they foreclose on?" said Madisonville resident Melowese Richardson.
The pilot program will start in Westwood, East Price Hill, Price Hill, College Hill, and Madisonville.
Lenders will have to register vacant properties and pay a $500 registration fee that will go to keep the program running. Lenders will face penalties if they don't keep grass cut to at least 10 inches. Properties must be free of debris.
Also, no signs can be on buildings indicating they're vacant.
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