I was writing on this topic every month. It looks like I skipped May and it was becasue I was working to help some buyers purchase a registered vacant building. What we found was that the cities requirements for code compliance were outrageous. The rules governing these structures require that they be brought up to a higher standard than any type of housing, except for new construction.
Taking a home that was built in the early 1900’s, that has not been maintained and correcting all the code violations proved to be too expensive. Building codes change over time and my own home and those of my neighbors have some of the same issues because of their age but there is no requirement that they be brought up to code, not now, not ever.
I beleive that some code violations should be corrected but others seem ridiculous becasue of the age of the homes. The appraisers, inspectors, contractors and insurance agent that I met with over one home didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with it.
They kept saying "gee this is a really old house". Well duh! this is the oldest part of town and I would argue that the older homes are built better than comparable new homes are today. Lets either fix them up or tear them down instead of leaving them vacant and boarded up. I don’t understand why these homes are being held to a higher standard.
When I reported on registered vacant building in St. Paul in February there were 1624 on the list, in April the list grew to 1775, today we have 1918 buildings on the list. As a St. Paul resident I am very concerned. As a Realtor I want to help but so far I have been unable to get even one family into one of these homes. I have been working on it since last October. It does not pay very well and it is a lot of work but it is important to me so I just keep going.
I found a statement made by Bob Kessler, St. Paul’s director of safety and inspections:
""Furthermore, in Saint Paul most registered vacant buildings can not be removed from the vacant building list and reoccupied unless all the code deficiencies are addressed. So that means that the houses that are removed and reoccupied are being brought up to code under permits inspected by the city, in many cases achieving a higher quality standard than before they were registered as vacant. While the vacant structures in the city pose a problem, it’s a manageable one that is under control"
I will be back with commentary next month when the list should be at around 2000 registered vacant buildings. My neighbors are telling me that this issue is not getting the amount of attention that it deserves.