Housing official aims to enforce rehab rules

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore's housing department is stepping up enforcement of a program used to sell city-owned property to ensure that buyers who purchase homes from the city follow through on promised renovations, the city's housing commissioner told a City Council committee yesterday.

City Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano told the City Council's Taxation and Finance Committee that the city is using housing inspectors to check up on properties sold through the city's SCOPE program to make sure the properties are being renovated within 18 months, instead of sitting vacant.

"We're tracking it more closely with our inspectors to make sure the work is actually being done," Graziano said.

SCOPE, which stands for Selling City Owned Properties Efficiently, has come under scrutiny in recent months. Officials said 186 properties have been sold under SCOPE, compared with thousands of derelict properties in Baltimore that are owned by the city.

The city has the ability to take back properties where development has not taken place, but has not yet done so in any instance, Graziano said.

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