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Volunteer Attorney Opportunities Help Fight Neighborhood Blight Michael Duffy, Esq. Legal Aid of Western Missouri 920 Southwest Boulevard Kansas City,

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Presentation on theme: "Volunteer Attorney Opportunities Help Fight Neighborhood Blight Michael Duffy, Esq. Legal Aid of Western Missouri 920 Southwest Boulevard Kansas City,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Volunteer Attorney Opportunities Help Fight Neighborhood Blight Michael Duffy, Esq. Legal Aid of Western Missouri 920 Southwest Boulevard Kansas City, Missouri (816) Fax (816)

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4 O Abandoned Housing Act What is it? MO Statute, § et al.allows a nonprofit organization to acquire vacant, blighted house that meets the following conditions… What are the conditions? Unoccupied for at least 6 months by a lawful occupant Tax delinquent Nuisance

5 Abandoned Housing Act How It Works Ground Work: – ID properties that meet the AHA requirements (unoccupied, tax delinquent, nuisance) – Conduct Property Research (Owner? Tax delinquency amount? Assessments?) – ID rehabber to abate code violations, make property habitable & if possible, estimate cost to rehab – Figure out who will pay costs associated with the lawsuit (rehabber? association?) – Draft Petition (starts the process in court)

6 Abandoned Housing Act Case Processing [Uncontested Cases] Request Title Report [$200-$300/ 3-5 days] Avoid clouds in title, determine all owners necessary to sue, verify all city assessments/liens File Petition/Suit with Court [$112, sometimes $0] Give Notice to Owners of Filing Suit Service by Mail ($0); OR Personal Service ($30 - $50); OR Service by Publication ($200- $250)

7 Abandoned Housing Act Case Processing [Uncontested Cases] Do Rehab & File quarterly reports [cost & time varies] Upon completion of rehab, move court for deed Court issues deed about three weeks after motion

8 Abandoned Housing Act Keep in Mind Time: – filing to possession: 3 months (uncontested cases) – filing to ownership: 6 – 7 months (uncontested cases) Costs: – High: $800 + City Assessments/Liens/Delinquent Taxes/Rehab – Low: $600 + City Assessments/Liens/Delinquent Taxes/Rehab

9 Abandoned Housing Act Break Down of Costs – Filing fee - $112 – Service of Process - $0-$50-$250 – Notice of Lis Pendens - $24 – Title report -$200-$300 – Record deed - $24 – Release Lis Pendens - $24 – Rehab – $? [exterior/interior code violations, foundation, roof, windows, insurance during rehab, materials, labor, etc] – Back taxes – $? – City Assessments – $? Weeds, trash, board ups, etc

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11 Legal Aid of Western Missouri Abandoned Housing Act Results Approximately 110 lawsuits brought in past seven years 70% of owners/successors repair and occupy property Approximately 20% nonprofit acquisition to repair and gain ownership Approximately 10% still in negotiation or owners currently repairing

12 Abandoned Housing Act Considerations Filing Fees – Who pays? Suit is filed in name of association (not rehabber) – Title would go to association –Prenup: contract between rehabber and association Rehabber to finance rehab Rehabber to maintain builders risk insurance Create detailed scope of work/rehab plan Association to give title to rehabber upon Court Administrators Deed Legal Aid attorney represents association Damage or vandalism to property during rehab Home doesnt sell – renters? Who is stuck with the property? Owner can come back – Would have to pay all expenditures back Quarterly Reports

13 Advantages of the AHA Promotes property maintenance Encourages surrounding homeowners to rehab and reinvest in their own property Helps stabilize neighborhoods by remediating blight Creates affordable housing and increases owner-occupancy Gives neighborhoods leverage as owner must either reinvest in the property or lose it


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