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Spokane city leaders trying to crack down on vacant homes

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A new written ordinance by Spokane City Council member Amber Waldref addresses the issue of vacant homes within Spokane city limits. A new written ordinance by Spokane City Council member Amber Waldref addresses the issue of vacant homes within Spokane city limits.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A new written ordinance by Spokane City Council member Amber Waldref addresses the issue of vacant homes within Spokane city limits. 

"Its really challenging right now with a foreclosed property and the lender. We are not legally able to go on to that property and do anything," Waldref says. 

The city says it's hands are tied many times when crimes are committed on vacant bank-owned property. A new registry city leaders say would ask banks and lenders to register with a third party company which would contract with the city. The enforcement and fines would be carried out by the city.

Some realtors did raise a concern about the registry asking if it could become a shopping list for criminals being that vacant homes are already vulnerable to vandalism and theft. Waldref dismissed those concerns saying the list would not be published and only available at the hands of a public records request. 

KHQ also spoke with John Bird a homeowner in the West Central neighborhood. Bird has 6 vacant homes on his block, 3 of which are right across the street from his home. "We really didn't even pay attention to that when we moved in but the very first night we lived here I had to call crime check because there were 10-15 people" having a party inside the vacant home he says.

Waldref says the registry would only apply to the homes in the foreclosure state and not all abandoned homes. The city council will take up the issue of a vacant home registry at a city council meeting in September.

 

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