Vacant Property Registration

  1. Overview
  2. Registration Process
  3. FAQs

On June 13, 2022, the City Council of Council Bluffs passed Ordinance 6492 enacting a new Chapter 17.15 “Vacant Property Registration” within city code.

According to the ordinance, the purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Council Bluffs citizens by requiring the registration of all vacant property and the payment of an annual registration fee in order to monitor, inspect and record the condition of vacant property. Further, this chapter serves to preserve property and reduce fire and life safety hazards and unlawful activities such as vandalism and temporary occupancy by transients.

For the purposes of this registry, vacant property is defined as a one or two-family residential dwelling that is unoccupied as a dwelling or that is illegally occupied, more specifically described in Ordinance 6492.

To register vacant property in Council Bluffs, please complete the following form:

More details can be viewed on the Registration Process tab.

Maintenance/Security Requirements

  1. The owner shall be responsible for maintaining the property in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Council Bluffs Municipal Code.
  2. Adherence to this section does not relieve the owner of any obligations set forth in any covenants, conditions and restrictions and/or homeowners' association rules and regulations which may apply to the property.
  3. The owner or beneficiary of a deed of trust or the holder of a certificate of purchase or a certificate of redemption or their agents and employees may legally enter upon the property to fulfill the maintenance and security obligations imposed by this Chapter.
  4. Properties subject to this Chapter shall be maintained in a secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons. Secure manner includes but is not limited to the closure and locking of windows, doors, garage doors, cellar doors, gates and any other opening of such size that it may allow a child to access the interior of the property and or structure(s).
  5. In the case of broken windows, doors, entryways, garage doors or cellar doors, adequate materials such as plywood shall be used to secure the property from unwanted entry. Such materials shall be painted black, white or color matched to the aesthetics of the property and the general aesthetic theme of the neighborhood.
  6. The person or entity responsible for maintenance shall inspect the property monthly to determine if the property is in compliance with the requirements of this Section.

In the event the owner does not secure the property as required under the Maintenance/Security Requirements listed above, the City shall determine the property to be vacant, and shall proceed with securing the property, in accordance with the provision of this Chapter. Any costs incurred by the City during this process shall be paid by the owner prior to the City removing the vacant property designation.

At the discretion of the city attorney, any violation of the provisions of this chapter may be pursued as a municipal infraction according to the terms of CBMC 1.95.

QUESTIONS?

For questions pertaining to the City of Council Bluffs' new vacant property registry, please refer to the FAQ tab or contact Tiffany Schmitt in Community Development at tschmitt@councilbluffs-ia.gov or (712) 890-5351.