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The Last House on the Lien: How GovPilot Can Help Towns Haunted by Vacant Houses

By Alannah Dragonetti

You arrive at the house filled with dread. The front yard is a sea of tall, dry, yellow, blades of grass that sway back and forth in the breeze, threatening to ignite the wooden boards across the windows. You shutter and continue up the porch. Each step emits a creak that hints at imminent collapse. The house is unoccupied, but sometimes, the neighbors will tell you that they hear the laughter of mischevious children. Unlike the haunted houses that pop-up this time of year, this one has been in your town for months. The most frightening part? As a government employee, you’re responsible for its upkeep.

Are you haunted by vacant properties? GovPilot offers a solution that can clean-up a ghost town faster than Pac-Man. Learn how!




Don’t Go in that House (Alone)!

From Scooby-Doo to IT, if media has taught us anything, it’s that in a spooky situation, there is strength in numbers. GovPilot ensures that you are not alone in your battle against property blight.

GovPilot’s digital Report a Concern form remains on your city’s official website, where it acts as a 24/7 receptacle for residents to disclose instances of property blight and the associated dangers, without having to pick-up the phone.


GovPilot government software

If picking-up the phone is more their style, residents may prefer to report blight-related concerns through GovPilot’s GovAlert mobile app. Available for free download, GovAlert empowers iOS and Android users alike to snap a picture, add a caption and otherwise craft a detailed report in the time it takes to send a text message. Location settings route the alert to the government employee responsible for swift and effective resolution.

GovPilot Turns on the Lights

Clients use GovPilot software to identify a vacant property’s foreclosing lender as well as the representing law firm. GovPilot’s database links lender and representative contact information to ownership history, zoning violations and other records associated with each property. This trove of comprehensive information empowers government to track trends, analyze findings and more strictly enforce rules and regulations to ensure that no unoccupied property or irresponsible owner falls through the cracks.

Lift the Curse

Of course, every district’s dream is to fill vacant properties with responsible owners. GovPilot turns this abstract wish into an easily attainable goal. Through GovPilot’s GIS map, prospective buyers can view the location and history of a listed property. Access to detailed data helps potential buyers determine if they are up for the task before a purchase is made, reducing the likelihood of future vacancies.

Paterson, New Jersey has firsthand knowledge of this. In February 2016, the city held a special tax lien auction to take advantage of new legislation that allows for vacant and abandoned properties to be rehabilitated and placed back on tax rolls. The city used GovPilot’s GIS map to disseminate information about the 90 parcels up for auction. Interested buyers consulted the map’s Property Market Analysis layer, which provides estimated valuations for all listed properties.Paterson sold 71 properties and generated almost $1.2 million in extra revenue.

When it comes to vacant property management, GovPilot works so well, it’s scary!


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Tags: Vacant Property Management, Blog