Vacant and abandoned housing

S.E.A. 415, P.L. 247-2015
Effective: §§ 3-4, 17, 27-28, 39-49 effective July 1, 2015; §§1-2, 36-28 effective May 6, 2015; §§5-16, 18-26, 29-35, 50 retroactively effective January 1, 2015

Provides that a county, city, or town fiscal body may adopt an ordinance to establish a deduction period for rehabilitated property that has also been determined to be abandoned or vacant. Specifies that there must be delinquent property taxes or special assessments on real property before it may be sold by the county treasurer as abandoned or vacant property. Provides that an order of a local building standards hearing authority that real property is abandoned or vacant and nonpayment of the associated penalty permits the executive of the county, city, or town to certify to the county auditor that the real property should be sold as abandoned or vacant property. Specifies that the county treasurer and not the county auditor is to auction abandoned or vacant property.

Eliminates the concept of redemption after sale regarding abandoned or vacant property to be sold by the county treasurer. Provides that the county, city, or town executive that certifies a property as abandoned or vacant has an option to take ownership of the property if the minimum bid is not received. Prohibits owners of property that was found to be vacant or abandoned in any county, from buying property at a tax sale.

Provides for the following: (1) Removal of properties not suitable for tax sale from the tax sale list. (2) A redemption period of 120 days from the date of the tax sale from which the property was removed. (3) Notice of removal of property from the tax sale list. Eliminates a provision that permitted the county auditor to be the only signer of a sales disclosure form in the case of a tax sale because the sale disclosure form is not required for a tax sale. Prohibits business associations that have not registered with the secretary of state from participating in the tax sale. Specifies that any form of registration by a business entity with the secretary of state allows the business entity to participate in a tax sale.

Separates out several provisions concerning abandoned and vacant property sales from delinquent tax sales and makes related changes. Moves certain provisions concerning determinations of abandonment from the property law to the local government law. Requires that notifications of unsafe building law orders state that a property may be determined to be abandoned during administrative proceedings. Provides for hearings to review civil penalties imposed at enforcement proceedings. Provides for civil penalties if a property owner does not comply with a repair order when a hearing was not requested.

Provides for administrative approval of costs of emergency action. Provides for appeals of a hearing authority’s determination of abandonment and in approving costs for emergency actions. Provides that the costs of emergency actions may be collected in the same way other unsafe building law costs are collected. Establishes additional provisions for receiverships of abandoned properties. Requires recording of civil penalty orders issued by an enforcement authority. Provides that procedures that apply to judicial determination of abandonment apply to determinations of abandonment in administrative proceedings. Provides that a hearing authority may use the same standards that are used by a court in finding that real property is abandoned or vacant for purposes of selling the real property at an abandoned and vacant property sale.

Permits a county, city, or town executive to use the courts instead of a hearing authority for the determination that a property is abandoned or vacant. Adds a requirement to issue a judgment when property is found to be abandoned. Extends the mortgage foreclosure counseling and education court fee until July 1, 2017.

Provides that certain actions of political subdivisions relating to mortgage foreclosure are preempted by Indiana law. Allows the disposing agent of any county to sell or transfer certain properties for no compensation or a nominal fee to a nonprofit corporation created for agricultural, educational, or recreational purposes. (Current law provides the authority to only Grant County.) Makes technical corrections.

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