On October 15, 2019, the City of Columbia passed an ordinance requiring vacant buildings to be registered with the Columbia Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division.

Objectives of Ordinance

  • Identify vacant properties
  • Establish a local point of contact
  • Create a mechanism to hold property owners accountable
  • Discourage long-term vacancies
  • Reduce blight and crime in the city

The ordinance requires vacant buildings to be registered and inspected annually. In addition, a designated local agent is required to be within 45 miles of the vacant building and a vacant building plan as part of the application process. The buildings will need to be maintained and secured as well.

There are several exemptions from the registration and the fees as outlined in the Vacant Building Registration Ordinance Highlights.

Buildings needs to be registered with the Code Enforcement Division within 120 days of becoming vacant. The 120-day period starts from the effective date of the ordinance; October 15, 2019. Any buildings that were vacant as of October 15, 2019, will need to be registered on or before February 12, 2020, if they are still vacant at that time.

Ordinance 2019-009 – Vacant Building Ordinance

Frequently Asked Questions

Vacant Building Registration Application

For any questions about the ordinance or to be added to the mailing list to receive notifications, please call 803-545-4362 or email [email protected].