Albuquerque officials take aim at poor property owners

abandoned downtown Albuquerque home
An abandoned downtown Albuquerque house has become a hub for the city's homeless.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A pair of Albuquerque city councilors have introduced an ordinance that takes aim at poor property owners.

“They just look depressed, run down, poor,” said Steve Goldberg.

If someone takes a drive through Albuquerque, they will see one abandoned building after another.

“It looks ghetto,” said Raydell Benton.

“Especially on Central, it’s really bad,” said Crystal Griego.

Some of the vacant buildings are crumbling to pieces. Others are littered with trash, broken glass and more.

“Everything from people sleeping in these places, to fires at night, to dead animals on the property,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

City Councilors Pat Davis and Don Harris have sponsored a vacant commercial building ordinance aimed at getting rid of those problems.

“What it says is if you have a vacant property that you aren’t doing anything with, make it lease ready, make it open and inviting for somebody to come in to put their business in your facility and be a good neighbor,” Davis said.

The ordinance would require owners of vacant buildings to:

• Remove weeds and trash.

• Post “no trespassing” signs.

• Fix holes in exterior walls. Boarded-up windows and doors would be allowed only for up to 180 days.

• Clean up graffiti within 48 hours.

“We want our businesses and our property owners to put their best face forward,” Davis said.

Under the ordinance, owners have six months to clean up their business. Property owners who violate the law would be subject to daily $500 fines and other penalties.

“For the first time it gives us a tool that for property owners like this that just refuse to do anything, it gives us a way to start accumulating fines against them,” he said.

If the property owners don’t repair their abandoned buildings within a year, the city could demolish them.

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