Oct 3, 2022 - News

Des Moines to launch vacant property registry

A photo of a home demolition.

Des Moines has about 25 other homes ready to be demolished like this one in its Blitz on Blight program. Photo courtesy of the city of DSM

Vacant Des Moines building owners would be required to register their properties with the city and comply with maintenance requirements under an ordinance being considered Monday night by the city council.

  • Failing to comply could result in a fine of up to $750 for a first offense.

Why it matters: Vacant properties are linked to increased crime and declining property values, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

  • They also drag down local economies and impede population growth.

Catch up fast: DSM has wrestled with problems associated with vacant properties for decades and they've recently stepped up efforts to deal with them.

  • Blitz on Blight launched in 2019 and has so far demolished about 100 nuisance structures.
  • An ongoing Property Improvement Initiative includes a citywide survey of building conditions to assess public safety hazards and better target improvement programs.

Driving the news: Last year, the city council directed the city's legal department to draft a vacant registry ordinance.

Details: Registration would be required within 10 days that a home or commercial building becomes vacant.

  • Mortgage holders of vacant homes in foreclosure would be required to follow the ordinance and inspect the properties.
  • Homes under construction and with valid building permits or those for sale would generally be exempt.

What's happening: The council unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance earlier this month.

  • Final approval could come Monday.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Des Moines stories

No stories could be found

Des Moinespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more