RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Overgrown grass and weeds, vacant and abandoned homes and trash can all be an eyesore for the community. A new audit of Richmond’s Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Division finds that those environmental hazards and blight may sit for months even after it’s reported.
When a property owner fails to comply with multiple violation notices for issues like garbage or not cutting their grass, the case is sent to a contractor for abatement.
City auditors looked at 40 cases and found on average it took 37 workdays just to assign the eyesore to a contractor. That means the mess in a neighborhood could sit there for weeks or even months before it’s cleaned up.
The audit also revealed the City’s webpage for tracking vacant buildings hasn’t been updated since 2019. In addition, the report also revealed the city’s property maintenance staff failed to collect $6400 in vacant building registry fees for derelict properties. In some cases, documentation for the fees was kept manually.
The report also found management did not have clear policies or procedures in place to guide staff. The report doe conclude that management has already started to take corrective action on all the issues.