As we all know, the number of foreclosed houses has dramatically increased over the past year. With these foreclosures have come an equal number of vacant properties. Like a big magnet, these vacant properties all too frequently attract vandals. If you have ever searched for a lender owned “bargain”, you will know that they are often a wreck. Lawns and plantings aren’t watered, so they die. If there is a pool, it is often filled with stagnant green slime. The interior and exterior of the property are often in terrible shape. As in the proverb of one bad apple, it only takes one neglected house on the block, lender owned, to devalue the entire neighborhood. While some enlightened neighbors have come together to maintain the abandoned properties in their own neighborhoods, others have not. Many have seen their neighborhoods go steadily downhill with little recourse – until now!
We can take heart in that our city fathers have seen the light and are doing something to turn the situation around. Recognizing that vacant buildings can be a source of blight whether in residential or commercial areas, the city of Palm Springs is now requiring that all vacant properties be registered with the city Department of Building and Safety. This regulation requires submission of the property owner’s identity, along with the person/organization responsible for maintenance and management of the property. Vacant properties must be registered as soon as possible, but no longer then 10 days after they become vacant. A commercial property with 35% or more of its total floor area unoccupied is also considered a vacant property and must be registered.
If you want to report a blighted property on your block or elsewhere, or if you have any questions regarding this new code, call the Palm Springs Code Compliance Department at 760 323-8244. It’s important to take care of these properties, as one of the first things people have traditionally noticed when arriving in Palm Springs has been the beauty and the cleanliness of our streets, road sides, public areas and neighborhoods. There has been a noticeable absence of litter or blight. Palm Springs has many regulations requiring attractive landscaping on all business properties, and this has made a major difference in the overall attractiveness of our city. Now the city officials are moving to make sure that neglected foreclosures don’t mar our beautiful and very special city.