By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The City of Tulsa says its plan to crack down on deadbeat property owners is already paying dividends. New ordinances will mean stiffer penalties for those who neglect their homes.
The new series of ordinances is aimed at Tulsa's estimated 10,000 vacant properties. They don't go into effect for another month, but city leaders say they're already working as a deterrent.
"It was as high as the porch there, at least that big."
The property next to Bryce Gaden has been vacant for more than a year now. The home is rundown, and he says the owner is MIA.
"I continually look at it and wonder if they're ever going to come take care of it," Gaden said.
A series of "Quality of Life" ordinances are supposed to force owners to take care of their homes. When they go into effect, they will have to provide the city with a plan for demolishing or fixing a property cited for violations.
Inspectors will also be given more power to crack down on repeat offenders.
"Unfortunately for us, we have irresponsible property owners all over the city of Tulsa, and many neighborhoods experiencing the same problem," Dwain Midget said.
City leaders say they spent several years pushing for the tougher ordinances. While they are not officially enforcing them yet, that will happen in August, they say the new rules have already encouraged some property owners to get things in order.
"We want them to clean it up," Midget said. "It's a hazard, it's a safety issue, and it's a quality of life issue for neighborhoods."
Bryce Gaden, who worries about his property value, hopes the city follows through with its tough talk.
"There's just a few, one or two bad apples in the bunch and apparently it's right next to me," he said.
Property owners who don't comply can be fined as much as $1,000 a day and face as much as six months in jail.