Fiorentini said the program manager is overseeing Haverhill’s new vacant properties registry, inspecting run-down properties for health, sanitary, safety and building code violations, and recommending properties for demolition or receivership through the Northeast Housing Court.
The city has also been going to court to ask judges to appoint receivers to take over and repair some abandoned buildings. Some buildings, such as the ones the mayor proposes to knock down, aren’t good candidates for that program, however, because they require too much work, he said.
“These buildings are so far gone the receivers don’t want them,” Fiorentini said of the five on his demolition list.
If it goes that far, the city would pay to demolish the buildings and then attach a lien on the properties to recoup the cost, the mayor said. The city would get the money back when the property is eventually sold or the city can go to court to seize the property and sell it, the mayor said.
Several residents have attended recent council meeting to urge councilors to take a harder stance with absentee property owners who don’t take care of their buildings.
Councilor William Ryan said the easiest way to deal with abandoned homes is to demolish them. He said the city had success with this approach when he was mayor in the 1980s.
“Some were nice buildings and it was a shame to tear them down,” Ryan said at a recent council meeting. “But that’s what it took to get their attention that we were serious.”