As I walked around the community over the past week, I noticed a fair number of homes that hadn’t cut their lawns in a while. As of April 21st, grass is not to exceed 10 inches in height. Failure to maintain one’s lawn can result in a fine of $500.
Of course, this presumes that the house is occupied and that there is someone to fine. While I feel fortunate that Park View doesn’t have too many of these, there is the added problem of vacant properties, such as the one at 430 Manor Place.
Overall, Manor Place is generally well maintained and there are many attractive properties there. I think it’s safe to say that 430 isn’t one of them. In reporting the property for the overgrown yard I was able to learn the following about the property.
According to DCRA, the property has been vacant since at least 2006. It has also been taxed accordingly, with the exception of FY2010 and the first half of FY2011 where it should have been classified as blighted (DCRA is currently working to reclassify the property correctly). Sadly, the property owner according to the DC Real Property database lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and no taxes have been collected on the property in over 6 years. It’s also been sold at tax sale on three different occasions.
The current tax liability on the property (all vacant taxes included) is $315,355.02 which is well over the 2011 assessed value of $272,090 (it goes down to $236,150 in 2012).
This all makes me wonder how this property is going to be returned to active use. It seems unlikely that someone is going to buy it for more than it’s worth. The city has stepped in and included it on tax sales but that clearly hasn’t worked. An auction could work, but here again the District isn’t likely to get every penny it’s owed. Is anyone familiar with a similar problem that eventually got a new owner and was successfully brought back to active use?