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New rules in play for PTC vacant homes

With Peachtree City not immune to the national housing crisis and some homes going vacant for months on end, the city is preparing a way to keep track of such homes.

Under a proposal from city staff, the city would gain the ability to closely monitor the homes, in some cases being authorized to make interior inspections to make sure the building remains intact.

The goal is to prevent vandalism, theft and other illegal activity, said interim Community Development Director David Rast.

The location of homes declared vacant under the ordinance would also be shared with the police and fire departments, Rast said.

Under the proposed ordinance, homes that are vacant for more than six months could be declared vacant by the city, and the registered owner would be responsible for paying a fee to cover the cost of inspections, Rast said. The fee has not yet been determined and council has not yet adopted the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance would have several exceptions for homes; for example, they may be allowed to be marketed for sale for up to 12 months before being declared vacant and added to the city’s vacant home registry, Rast said.

Rast said he thought the fees should be comparable to the city’s building inspection fees.

“We are not fully aware of the time it may take to enforce this,” Rast said.

There are signs some homes are vacant in the city, including overgrown or dead vegetation and an accumulation of newspapers in the driveway, Rast said. The city also gets solid information from utility companies when service is disconnected to a home, he added.
City Councilwoman and local Realtor Vanessa Fleisch said there are some foreclosed homes in the city which have broken windows and kids have gotten into.

“In some older neighborhoods, it’s happening,” Fleisch said.

Councilman Doug Sturbaum said he thinks the new vacant home rules would help residents protect their property values.

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