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Weymouth Delinquent Taxpayers List Targets Vacant Landowner

Vacant landowners are under attack in Massachusetts. Brockton Mayor Lisa Balzotti is pushing for an abandoned homes registry that requires a $150 fee from owners of empty homes. Now the Town of Weymouth has instituted a delinquent taxpayers list that targets vacant landowners.

Weymouth will publish on its website a list of property owners who have failed to pay property taxes. The list only includes properties that the town has taken a lien against -- usually after repeated, failed attempts to contact the landowners, reports The Patriot Ledger. About half of the 193 properties listed are vacant lots.

Vacant land is a problem for tax collection purposes as in many cases, the town does not know how to contact the landowner. When land is empty, there is no door to knock on, or building to visit, to collect taxes, reports the Ledger. In fact, a town representative guessed that some of the landowners on the delinquent list may be dead. In other cases, the landowner may have no idea of the delinquent taxes.

In recent years, vacant and abandoned property has been a growing problem that has been exacerbated by the real estate downturn and increase in foreclosures. Abandoned property often decreases neighboring property value and generates no property tax income for the town.

The actions by the Town of Weymouth and the City of Brockton demonstrate a concentrated effort by Massachusetts municipalities in cracking down on the problem of abandoned and vacant lands. The delinquent taxpayers list serves notice to landowners and can result in more money for the town.

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