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Columbus Enacts New Civil Penalties For Property Owners

Dec 19, 2014

The city of Columbus has adopted a new one thousand dollar per day fine to try and deter residential and commercial building owners from allowing their properties to become a public nuisance.

The new civil penalty is aimed at the owners of the worst hotels, apartments and other commercial buildings. City Council member Michelle Mills says the penalty is designed as a deterrent that is intended to resolve problems faster while enabling the city to more effectively target the LLCs that own blighted properties.

The Columbus Apartment Association, which represents owners of 100 thousand local rental units, opposed the measure when it was proposed in November. But the city changed the language to target owners of buildings unfit for occupancy. Association director Laura Swanson says the group now supports the penalties.

The fines will go to the city's land bank to repair and maintain buildings it acquires. If the fines are not paid, the city would file suit to recover the money.