Vacant Property Ordinance

ORDINANCE 10, Series 2018/2019

Purpose:  It is the intent of this ordinance to identify Vacant Properties within the City of Windy Hills and to establish a registry of such properties as a means to protect the value of our neighborhoods and to minimize hazards to persons or other properties because of this vacancy.

Definition of Vacancy:  Windy Hills considers any residential property that is continuously unoccupied or inhabited for 12 consecutive months to be a vacant property. Periods of short- term occupancy of less than 12 months, temporary rentals or leases, do not qualify as occupancy. Residences listed for sale or under construction for a period of longer than 12 months are also considered vacant.

Evidence of Vacancy:  A condition on its own or in combination with others that would lead a reasonable person to believe the property is vacant, including admission by current owners, or agents, and/ or such conditions as overgrown vegetation, accumulation of flyers, mail, trash, disconnected utilities, or the absence of interior furnishings. This also includes notifications by neighbors, delivery persons, governmental authorities, or local utilities.

Registration:  Property owners of vacant property are required to register their properties. Any property meeting the above definition of vacancy must be registered upon notice, or within 30 days after 12 continuous months of vacancy.  Upon notice, the City shall prepare, maintain, and periodically update a registry of vacant properties. Such properties shall be registered annually, as long as they remain vacant, with the submission of a current registration form and payment of the current annual fee. Failure to pay the current annual property fee for each property within 10 days of the date of notice, or failure to register a new property meeting vacant property guidelines, will be subject to a fine of $500.00. If such fine is issued and not paid within 10 business days a lien will be filed against the property.

Maintenance: For as long as the property continues to be vacant responsible parties must:

  • Keep property free of garbage, litter, junk, debris, discarded building materials or personal items, including unregistered, unlicensed vehicles, campers, boats, or other non-licensed recreational vehicles, construction or building equipment.
  • Property shall be free of weeds, dead vegetation and trees. Trimming and mowing grass and bushes is required as seasonally needed. Grass may not be higher than 7”. Bushes shall not interfere with proper operation of gutters, downspouts or utility services. Gutters shall be maintained securely attached and free of debris and growth.  Fences shall be properly maintained.
  • Windows, doors, skylights, screens, shutters and other decorative features shall be kept in sound condition, free of rot, broken glass, and other deterioration which hinders operation. Other than those that are fixed, windows and doors shall be able to be opened and may not be boarded up. Screens must be properly attached and free of holes or tears that would hinder intended usage.
  • Roofs and Chimneys shall be maintained structurally safe, and in good repair, free of leaking.
  • Secured property, outbuildings, and garages from intrusion by unauthorized persons, animals or vermin is required. Swimming pools must be properly covered and fenced.
  • Maintenance and repairs must be performed as needed, to insure vacant property is not in violation of any Windy Hills, Metro Louisville Property Maintenance, Land Development, or Building Codes, or any State Regulation. Such maintenance shall apply to the interior and exterior of the property if such condition becomes apparent and represents a hazard to the property or to the neighborhood.

Inspections:  Inspections of the exterior of the vacant property must be performed before registration is considered valid.  Inspections will be conducted annually.  All owners and agents agree to allow the City Code Enforcement Officer to inspect the exterior of the property. Inspections will be performed with prior notice to the owner or agent. Violations found during the inspection will be given 10 business days from written notice to abate such violations.

Enforcement:  Failure to annually register a vacant property upon written notice or to voluntarily register a new property after 12 consecutive months of vacancy will be subject to a $500.00 fine.

Any owner/agent who violates any provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a violation and shall be punishable by a fine of up to $250.00.

Each day of violation constitutes a separate violation of this chapter punishable by a fine of up to $250.00. Any owner or agent who has received notice of violation of the provisions herein, and who has failed to abate the violation may be charged with the violation, the total of which is subject to collection by the payment thereof and suit of law in the court of competent jurisdiction in Jefferson County, Kentucky. All balances due are subject to lien filings to secure same in said county.