Derelict Properties

Derelict properties are private properties that are deserted or neglected by the owner. Houses and buildings that are falling down, rotted and, in some cases abandoned, fit into this definition. In many cases, these properties can be a health or safety risk, result in increased crime, attract trespassers and decrease the viability of neighbourhood development or redevelopment. Ultimately, these derelict properties cost The City and taxpayers money.

The Municipal Government Act and Red Deer’s Community Standards Bylaw dictate that derelict/unsightly properties are boarded up to prevent access. The City can only access private property to clean it up after the property owner is notified and a reasonable amount of time is given to do the work themselves.

The numbers

  • Between January and September 2018, administration opened 23 files for enforcement on derelict properties within the city. Of those, 17 of the property owners complied with clean-up requirements and the remaining are open in various stages of enforcement. One garage was demolished by The City of Red Deer in the last two years under the current legislated processes.

Current Actions

  • The City has a list of derelict properties and tracks records and complaints received as well as actions taken on each property.
  • The enforcement process can take a long time, especially if a property owner is unwilling to clean up their site. The last resort for The City is an application to the court.
  • A review of the Community Standards Bylaw is underway with the intent to update the bylaw in 2019. This will help address the shortcomings, interpretation and enforcement of the bylaw.
  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards, which help reduce the potential for crime, are applied when planning for, designing and constructing all municipal public spaces and places in our city.
  • An increased RCMP presence in the downtown helps minimize some of the negative behaviours that can occur around derelict buildings.
  • In September 2017, Red Deer City Council requested the Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Economic Development revise legislation such as the Municipal Government Act to enable municipalities to more effectively deal with vacant and derelict properties. At this time, the provincial government has not actioned this item.

Ongoing Strategies

  • An updated Community Standards Bylaw in 2019 will enable The City to be more nimble in its enforcement on property maintenance.
  • The City is currently reviewing all of its bylaws, policies and processes, which includes but is not limited to those related to derelict properties.

The City continues to address issues with derelict properties; however, there are provincial legislated processes for enforcement that limit our ability to enforce in a timely fashion. An application to the court is required before The City can access and/or deal with derelict private properties.

Related Links

Housing and Homelessness