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City says progress being made on absentee property owner registration

Goal is to help educate property owners

SAN ANTONIO – Crime, vagrants and eyesores. Those were the initial concerns with vacant buildings around town when the city rolled out its Absentee Property Owner Registration ordinance.

Michael Shannon, the interim director of the city's Development Services Department updated the City Council Wednesday on the ordinance, telling council members it's working.

Shannon reported a decrease in code violations on the more than 1,100 properties that had been identified as having code violations.

Shannon said the department had been receiving numerous calls about some out-of-town landlords who weren't doing a good job maintaining their properties.

Since 2014, the department has been targeting owners who have had two or more code violations, who live outside of Bexar County and who own a one- or two-family dwelling.

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These owners were required to register with the city, which included a $50 annual fee.

However, a property owner who remains violation-free for two years is  not required to register again.

Since the program rolled out, the department has recouped $30,000. However, Shannon said the goal is to decrease code violations.

"It's really more about just getting out, educating these owners," said Shannon. "It's not about generating revenue. It's about decreasing the amount of code violations these properties have and it's working and we're going to continue to make it work."

Shannon said the department is still working to track down 60 percent of the 1,100 property owners that it identified as having code violations and get them to register.

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