Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2024 • Circulation 5000


New Resources Addressing Issues at Problem Properties

Before and after images of a demolition coordinated by PPT in Boyle Street. Supplied by the City of Edmonton

Problem properties are occupied or vacant properties that have serious negative impacts on the community, as well as on the people living or working there. They cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City of Edmonton. 

Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) coordinates several teams to address issues at problem properties. These teams are composed of representatives from multiple City departments, the Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services, and the Government of Alberta.

Increased funding, more resources, faster action
In 2022, City Council approved funding to implement the long term strategy to address problem properties. Since then, the PPI’s teams have expanded and more problem property files are being resolved.

The Problem Properties Team (PPT) is composed of Municipal Enforcement Officers (MEOs) dedicated to the neighbourhoods most affected by problem properties. These officers can issue enforcement orders related to a variety of nuisance conditions. Between August 2022 and September 2023, the team conducted approximately 2,300 inspections and issued 862 enforcement orders.

The Community Property Safety Team (CPST) reduces fire risk in Edmonton by ensuring vacant properties are secured at the landowner's expense. Between April 2022 and September 2023, the team inspected 593 properties that were known or suspected to be unsecured vacant properties (UVPs), issued 295 enforcement orders, and secured 320 UVPs.

Demolitions eliminate unsafe vacant buildings
PPI partners bring different regulations and enforcement approaches to the initiative. This helps create multiple pathways to demolish unsafe, vacant buildings. 

Enforcement orders issued by PPT and CPST are making it increasingly costly for owners to neglect their problem properties. As a result, many unsafe, vacant properties are being demolished by their owners. 

Where owners continue to neglect their properties, PPT can now facilitate the demolition of smaller buildings such as garages that are in extreme states of disrepair. And the PPI’s Demolition Assessment and Response Committee (DARC) is combining the resources of four City areas to speed up the demolition of larger, unsafe structures.

All vacant buildings, including those in the process towards demolition, are monitored to ensure that they are secure and inaccessible to the public. When needed, fencing and 24-hour security can be ordered at the property owner’s expense. 

New tax subclass increases taxes at derelict residential properties
On October 5th, 2023, City Council approved a new tax subclass for derelict residential properties in mature areas. Edmonton is the first city in Canada to make a subclass specifically for derelict properties as part of a larger effort to combat problem properties and encourage community vibrancy.

New Resources Addressing Issues at Problem PropertiesStarting in 2024, the new derelict tax subclass can be applied to residential properties in mature neighbourhoods that show serious signs of neglect, are dilapidated, are falling into significant disrepair, or are unlivable. The subclass will allow the City to charge a higher tax rate to owners of such properties.

“The derelict tax subclass is a new tool in the City’s toolbox for addressing the harmful impact that derelict and problem residential properties can have,” said Cate Watt, Branch Manager, Assessment and Taxation. “Managing derelict properties often comes with additional costs to the City and a higher tax rate will help to cover those costs while encouraging property owners to clean up derelict houses. We hope this will play a role in improving the vibrancy of mature neighbourhoods in the long run.”

For more information: 

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

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