We’ve all seen them. Driving around our city, they stick out—and not in a good way. You could say they’re broken, dilapidated or run-down. You could also call them what they are: a nuisance.
Nuisance properties are more than just an eye sore, as they have tremendously negative impact on our communities. These abandoned homes, lots, and buildings drive down property values, and invite crime into our neighborhoods. Nuisance properties can be dangerous, with old, collapsing roofs and crumbling walls. They make our city ugly, and they are an embarrassment to all who live here.
To make our streets safer and neighborhoods brighter, we must address the blight brought on by nuisance properties.
Over the past few years, I have worked in the Missouri General Assembly to help communities tackle these blighted properties. In 2014, we passed one of my first nuisance bills, Senate Bill 731 to go after absentee landlords who allow their properties to rot rather than repair them. This bill – which is now law – gives neighbors more opportunities to find a solution.
This year, I sponsored Senate Bill 203 to clean up neighborhoods and fix blight by lowering the time from 60 days to 45 days before law enforcement action can be taken on nuisance properties. Additionally, SB 203 permits attorney's fees to be awarded in certain circumstances to the party who brought the action. I am happy to report that this bill received bipartisan support in both chambers and is on its way to the governor.
These two bills are a big step forward for our community as we work together to clean up our neighborhoods and make our streets safer.