Hennepin County Attorney's Office cleans up blighted properties in pilot project

Monday, January 04, 2016

In June of 2015, with the approval of the Hennepin County Housing & Redevelopment Authority, lawyers in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office went to work to cut the forfeiture time of nine tax-delinquent homes from three years to five weeks.

Mark Chapin, director of the Hennepin County Residential and Real Estate Services Division, said that county staff and Minneapolis regulatory employees identified these nine properties as “the worst of a bad bunch.” In fact, the photo shown here of the property in the 4000 block of Dupont Ave. N., is a prime example. The abandoned property sticks out like a cat at a dog show. All of the other homes on the block are in good condition.

In tax forfeiture, a property owner has stopped paying his or her property taxes. Hennepin County can begin the process of taking possession of the property, but under the law, the owners can have up to three years to redeem their property by paying the back taxes.

However, the county can take possession of tax-forfeited properties in just five weeks if it can be proved that an owner has abandoned the property.

Chapin praised Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for allowing his staff to take the time to try something new. The pilot project has been deemed a success and Chapin will recommend that the Housing and Redevelopment Authority identify another 10 properties in the coming year.