in rem process - april 2023
In Rem Process - April 2023
Released April 2023
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We undertook this audit because Atlanta City Council introduced Ordinance 22-O-1253 requesting the City Auditor's Office audit the city's In Rem processes, in response to constituent concerns regarding In Rem-related demolitions.
Our recommendations to the Chief of Police are to use all options for In Rem abatement provided by the Housing Code, to increase the usage of Vacant Property Registry, and to increase the transparency of the In Rem process.
- A property is a candidate for In Rem if it is both open and vacant and also represents a hazard to the health, safety, or general welfare of the public.
- In a simple random sample of 46 demolitions, we found that the city complied with applicable state and city code requirements to contact property owners, to obtain historic preservation and environmental clearances, and to ensure asbestos was appropriately abated and demolitions were permitted.
- There are no best practices for the In Rem process specified by national and local code enforcement organizations.
- Certified mail notices are returned unclaimed, and some property owners may be unaware that their property has been referred to the In Rem Process.
- Code enforcement's compliance resolution staff use spreadsheets, file checklists, and maintain documentation outside of Accela.