Over the past few years, the City has experienced an increase in the number of vacant properties. In an effort to ensure that vacant properties do not create health, safety, and crime issues, the City Council passed the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance (Ordinance 2010-1012 found in City Code Section 455) in February 2010. Many other cities throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area have adopted similar ordinances.
Residential property, which is vacant for more than 90 days, must now be registered with the City.
What is a vacant property?
A Vacant Property is:
- A building in any residential zoning district which contains one to four dwelling units, which is unoccupied for 90 or more consecutive days; or
- An unimproved lot in any residential zoning district, located within 500 feet of an unoccupied house, where both lots are owned by the same owner.
The owner of a vacant property is required to:
- register the vacant property with the City
- execute an authorization appointing the Hopkins Police Department as an agent of the owner for the purpose of preventing trespass
- keep the property secured and safe
- properly maintain the buildings and grounds in compliance with all state and local laws, ordinances, and codes
- install an excess flow valve on the gas meter outlet within 60 days of acquisition, in order to decrease the risk of fire, explosion, or dangerous conditions.
To register, you must submit the following to the City of Hopkins Inspection Department (1010 1st St S, Hopkins, MN 55343):
- Vacant Property Registration Form
- Hopkins Police Department Agent Authorization
- The appropriate fee, if applicable (see below)
- If a temporarily vacant property, an affidavit stating that your property will be recoccupied within 180 days
- The owner of a single vacant property must pay an annual registration fee of:
- $500 for the first year
- $1,000 for each subsequent year that the property remains vacant
- The owner of two or more vacant properties located within 500 feet of each other must pay an annual registration fee of :
- $1,000 per property the first year
- $2,500 per property for each subsequent year the properties remain vacant.
- The registration fee is waived for:
- All dwelling units which possess a valid rental license (must show proof of advertising "for rent")
- Homes which are for sale (must show proof of advertising "for sale")
- A temporarily vacant property, e.g. "snowbirds." The owner must state that the property will be reoccupied within 180 days.
As a temporarily vacant property (less than 180 days), there is no cost for your registration. Your registration information is private. Providing this information will do the following:
- Notify the Police Department that your property is vacant so they can keep an eye on it for you.
- Notify the Public Works Department (Water Utility) that your property is vacant so that if there is any water usage during the vacancy time, you and the Public Works Department will be notified. Freezing pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damages.
Violation of any provision of this ordinance, or providing false information to the Enforcement Officer, shall be a misdemeanor.
Failure to register
If an owner fails to register within 30 days of notice from the City, the owner shall be liable for a registration fee of three times the amount otherwise due for the vacant property or vacant properties.
The Enforcement Officer may inspect any premises in the city for the purpose of enforcing and assuring compliance with the ordinance. Upon the request of the Enforcement Officer, an owner shall provide access to all interior portions of any vacant property or suspected vacant property in order to permit a complete inspection.