Seattle tries to tighten up on rules governing mistreated property

The city of Seattle announced a new program designed to significantly increase fines for landlords and property owners refusing to repair decrepit property.

The Clean Up Your Act program will increase fines, add citations for overgrown yards and make it easier to charge criminal penalties for the most flagrant cases of decaying property in neighborhoods.

Three bills were submitted to the city council to revise the enforcement sections of the Seattle Land Use Code, the Housing Building and Maintenance Code and the Weeds and Vegetation Ordinance.

Proposed changes include an increase on all fines for noncompliance violations of the codes and ordinances.

"Most people in Seattle take pride in their community and do a good job of keeping their property and homes in shape," said Mayor Greg Nickels. "But one bad landowner can create health and safety issues that impact an entire neighborhood. My message to property owners who blemish neighborhoods and put others at risk is simple: Clean up your act."

Currently, the Department of Planning and Development receives 2,500 complaints each year for violations of property codes. In 2006, the city collected $137,000 in fines. The Seattle City Council must approve these proposed changes.[[In-content Ad]]