[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Amsterdam 2-3-1981. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be entitled the "Homestead Ordinance of the City of Amsterdam." Any reference to the Homestead Ordinance of the city shall be construed as referring to this chapter and any amendments thereto.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any qualified person, whether male or female, who makes an application under the terms hereof.
The words used in this chapter shall be taken and construed according to the dictionary definition of such words, provided that where applicable the definition of terms in the Municipal Code of the city shall apply to the language used here.
The administration of the provisions of this chapter shall be assigned to the head of the divisions of housing, building and zoning enforcement of the City of Amsterdam, the Assistant Engineer, under whom there shall be a Homestead Board hereinafter created. Applications hereunder shall be made to the Homestead Board which shall have the responsibility of carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
There is hereby established a homestead program for the city. Buildings owned by the city which remain unoccupied for reasons of physical deterioration, location or any other reason shall be subject to this program in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
Any resident of the city who is 18 years or over and is a citizen of the United States shall be eligible to apply for and acquire property under this chapter. A nonresident of the city may apply and be accepted, provided that he becomes a resident of the city promptly after the application has been accepted and a conditional deed issued to him as provided for in this chapter.
Such an applicant shall prove that he has the ability to rehabilitate, repair or remodel the building concerned in accordance with the terms of this chapter and that he has financial ability to do so.
Any property owner who has been delinquent in the payment of taxes, which has resulted in the foreclosure of tax liens by an in rem proceeding, shall not be eligible to acquire property hereunder as to that parcel foreclosed and presently owned by the city.
Any applicant under this chapter, by making such application, shall agree to bring the parcel and building or buildings up to the standards required by the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and other ordinances within two years after the conditional deed hereinafter referred to has been issued. In the event that the applicant fails to bring the premises up to a satisfactory condition within two years of the time the conditional deed is issued, he shall quitclaim the property to the city within 30 days after receipt of notice to do so. The conditional deed heretofore issued shall be null and void upon such failure.
An authorized representative of the Homestead Board shall inspect or cause to be inspected all premises subject to this chapter, from time to time, to observe the progress being made. In connection with such inspection, the representative shall offer such advice and assistance as he deems necessary to assist the applicant in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
The applicant shall move into and occupy the premises as soon as they are fit for such occupancy even though the reconstruction repair or rehabilitation work is being continued during such occupancy.
Premises subject to this chapter may not be sold or transferred until they have been brought up to the standards required; provided, however, that if the applicant shall be transferred or assigned to another city, he may assign or transfer his interest to some other qualified person with the consent of the Homestead Board.
Upon acceptance of the application, a conditional deed shall be issued giving the applicant the right to occupy the premises subject to the provisions of this chapter. Such conditional deed shall not be recorded with the Montgomery County Clerk, but shall be retained by the Homestead Board and may be revoked by the Homestead Board for any violation of the terms of this chapter.
Upon the issuance of a conditional deed as provided for herein, it shall be the obligation of the applicant to pay all taxes and assessments lawfully levied on the premises.
Premises subject to this chapter may be used for any purpose permitted by Chapter 250, Zoning, for the area in which they are located.
The restoration of the property to the tax rolls, the rehabilitation or repair of the buildings thereon and bringing the premises up to the standards required by the general ordinances of the city shall constitute consideration to the city for the deed when finally issued to the applicant upon fulfillment of the terms of this chapter.
The Homestead Board shall cause a list to be compiled of all property in the city upon which such building or buildings stand and remain unoccupied and for which the city has no immediate plans. Such premises shall be listed as premises subject to the provisions of this chapter. Upon publication of this list in such manner and to such extent as the Homestead Board may require, applications may be received from persons qualified under this chapter. Upon examination of the application, if the Homestead Board is satisfied that the applicant complies with the requirements of this chapter and will fulfill his obligations hereunder, a conditional deed to the premises concerned shall be issued to him.
Upon receipt of the conditional deed heretofore referred to, the applicant shall assume control of the premises, subject to the provisions of the chapter. All work necessary to be done to bring the premises up to the standard required by all applicable ordinances shall be commenced and carried to completion with reasonable diligence.
Premises shall be inspected from time to time while subject to the provisions of this chapter to determine the progress of the work and whether or not the applicant is in need of assistance or advice to complete the work. Such assistance as can be furnished by the Homestead Board, the authorized representative or any of their employees or subordinates shall be furnished without cost to the applicant.
Upon completion of the work undertaken so that the premises are in compliance with the ordinances applicable thereto, the applicant shall apply for a final deed. Such application shall contain a statement that the work is completed in compliance with this chapter, that all bills and obligations for labor and material have been satisfied and paid and that all of the conditions of this chapter have been complied with.
The Homestead Board shall investigate to determine whether this chapter has been complied with and whether the statements in the application for a final deed are correct. If it finds that they are and that this chapter has been fully complied with, it shall cause the issuance of a deed to the applicant conveying title in fee simple. Such deed shall be by way of quitclaim rather than warranty. Upon receipt of this deed, the applicant shall become the owner of the property.
The Homestead Board is hereby authorized to establish and maintain an advisory service to assist applicants in making their application, in drawing up plans and in generally complying with the provisions of this chapter. Such service shall be rendered to the applicant without charge. The Corporation Counsel, the Building Inspector and all other officers and employees of the city shall, upon request, advise the Homestead Board on any matter concerning the application of this chapter or the things to be done in compliance therewith.
In the event that an applicant shall die or become incompetent before a final deed is issued under the provisions of this chapter, the provisional deed heretofore issued to him shall become null and void and the property subject hereto shall revert to the city, provided that, if a substantial amount of work has been done or expense incurred in complying with the provisions of this chapter, the Homestead Board may offer the property to any person qualified under this chapter as an applicant upon such terms as may be proper and fair to all concerned. Any money received for such transfer or sale shall be paid to the estate of the deceased or incompetent applicant; provided, further, that, if rights are sold, the oldest of the applicant's children who are qualified under the provisions of this chapter or the widow or wife of said applicant shall have the option of purchasing the property subject to the terms of this chapter and continuing with the work until the final deed is issued.
There is hereby created a Homestead Board which shall consist of five members to be appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the City Council, one of whom shall be the Assistant City Engineer. Such members shall serve for a term of three years and shall receive no compensation for the services rendered. A Secretary for the Homestead Board may be established but, if no such office is created, the Board may appoint one of its own members to act as Secretary.
The Homestead Board may establish and promulgate such rules and regulations as it deems necessary or desirable to effectuate the provisions of this chapter. Such rules before becoming final shall be approved by the Corporation Counsel.
The Board is empowered and has the duty and responsibility to:
Review and publicize, by newspaper advertising or some other effective method, the availability of homestead program properties.
Accept and review applications and determine the qualifications of applicants within the criteria established by this chapter and the regulations promulgated hereunder.
Approve and certify applicants with a view toward compatibility of the applicant and the parcel assigned to him.
Approve and recommend the execution by the Mayor and City Clerk of a conditional deed to the assigned parcel, upon the applicant being approved.
Approve and recommend the execution by the Mayor and City Clerk of all documents necessary to convey fee simple title to the assigned parcel to the applicant upon the applicant's fulfillment of all conditions enumerated herein.