Landlords, property managers, and homeowners take note – The City of Holyoke is about to turn up the heat on property owners who have been fined for non-compliance of the state building code and non-payment of the accrued fines.
Those fines on both landlords and private individuals reached $4,519,500 as of January 29.
Fines are assessed by the City’s Building Department or Board of Health after a property owner neglects to resolve a violation of the State Building Code. The City grants a grace period to allow time for property managers or individuals to achieve compliance, but many property owners have left problems unaddressed and allowed fines of $300 a day to accrue.
“We’re not in the business of making money off fines,” Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia said. “What we want is compliance. But we will collect, if necessary.”
Garcia said fines could be reduced or waived once property owners fix the problem for which they have been cited or at least work with the Building Department to get on a path to compliance with the city.
Some 132 individual property owners are on the City’s list of violators with unpaid fines. A separate list includes 19 landlords/property managers. Their names and the number of their properties in violation will be made public if the problems are not addressed or at least get on a path to compliance.
The City is taking steps to piggy back code violation fines onto the property tax bills of those in violation. This would be in addition to the enforcement mechanism of denial of city-issued permits or licenses and recording municipal charges leans at the Hampden County Registry of Deeds.
This effort is part of the larger initiative of the city -which includes flex squad, city’s receivership program, and the property preservation group— to improve the quality of life for every resident and business owner in Holyoke.