From the Community Law Center:

Owners of abandoned properties in Baltimore City should start bringing their properties up to code, or the local community association might sue them to do just that. Today, the revised law known as the Community Bill of Rights, goes into effect. This amended legislation makes it easier for community organizations to use the law that has been unused but on the books for 15 years.

The revised law allows for community organizations to pursue code enforcement violations to reduce nuisances in their own neighborhoods. Community associations are empowered to address problem properties by filing a private legal action against the property owner. Owners could be forced by a Circuit Court order to correct the problems with their properties that are causing a nuisance in the neighborhood.

You can download a copy of the amended law here. Link opens a PDF.

Why this is important: Some property owners will not act, unless forced to by a court — this gives community members the ability to be proactive and take action against these property owners, hopefully ridding neighborhoods of blighted properties.

The only sticking point for me — some neighborhoods don’t have community associations — not official 501(c)(3) organizations.  And while the process to become a (c)(3) organization is not difficult, it is time consuming.  Some communities may be left out.  We’d like to see the Community Bill of Rights eventually expanded to include non-(c)(3) organizations, so neighbors can band together and take their communities back from slumlords, regardless of whether they have “official” status or not.