Vacant Building Registration (VBR) Program
The Vacant Building Registration program is our primary tool for tracking, monitoring, and managing vacant properties. The program is governed by Chapter 249 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances.
The Vacant Building Registration Program was created to ensure that vacant property remains secure and properly maintained. The Program was also established to help recapture some of the City’s costs related to properties that are not being maintained or that have a history of improper maintenance.
Owners of vacant properties must register and pay an annual fee. The current VBR fee is contained in the Director’s Fee Schedule. The VBR fee is due at the time of registration and each year on the anniversary date of being found vacant. That date can be found on the City’s Property Information website. This fee may be adjusted annually.
All buildings (including commercial properties) may qualify for the Vacant Building Registration Program. Residential or commercial properties that have one or more of the following conditions may be required to register as vacant:
- Condemned requiring a code compliance inspection. See condemned properties.
- Unoccupied and unsecured for five days or more
- Unoccupied and secured by means other than those normally used in the design of the building for 30 days or more
- Unoccupied with multiple housing maintenance, fire or building code violations existing for 30 days or more
- Unoccupied more than 365 days with an order having been issued to correct a nuisance condition pursuant to section 227.90.
- A vacant commercial or residential building or structure which is unable to receive a certificate of occupancy due to work stoppage or expired permits
Commercial Vacant Building Registration
The City recently amended the Vacant Building Registration Ordinance to include qualifying vacant commercial properties. VBR eligible commercial properties are identified using the same criteria listed above. In addition, vacant commercial properties may contest the designation by filing a formal appeal with the Problem Properties Unit. The appeal is then referred to the Nuisance Condition Process Review Panel for a decision.
To refer a vacant commercial property, call 612.673.2233.
To encourage the rehabilitation of buildings that qualify for the VBR program, the City is allowing the VBR fee to be held in abeyance for 6 months as long as the property owner is rehabbing the property and meeting other conditions in the Restoration Agreement. Please note, not all properties will qualify for a Restoration Agreement. Restoration Agreements may be an option if the property has been in the VBR program for less than three months, or the anniversary date of the Vacant Building Registration order is less than 3 months past due.
A copy of the Restoration Agreement can be found following this link. Restoration Agreements (PDF) document for more details.
To find more on the policies and procedures that govern a Restoration Agreement, download this document. Restoration Agreement Policy (PDF)
Director’s Orders to Demolish (RAZE)
Minneapolis Code of Ordinance Chapter 249, outlines the conditions under which a property can be declared a Nuisance and the City can establish the appropriate abatement action. Staff from the Inspections division, periodically reviews the properties on the Vacant Building Registration List to determine if they are in bad shape and meet the definition of nuisance and should be demolished. The owner and all others with a financial interest in the property are sent a Director’s Order to Demolish (PDF). The owner and/or other persons with a financial interest, have 21 days to appeal the order or 30 days to comply with the order. The City issues between 50 to 100 Director’s Orders annually.
Winterization of Condemned Properties
To protect citizens and property from damage due to frozen water pipes or improperly maintained gas lines and electrical service, the City now requires that property condemned for boards be properly winterized. This includes disconnecting gas, shutting off electric power and draining plumbing fixtures and water pipes. The City may also direct its Water Department to shut off water service at the stop box and drop the meter. Condemned properties that are not winterized by the owner, may be winterized by an authorized city contractor. The owner of record will be notified prior to the winterization and the cost of this winterization will be applied as a special assessment to the property tax.
Current List of Buildings Registered as Vacant
Property Information – Look up an address to see if a property is registered as vacant.
Last updated Mar 31, 2020