HOUSE BILL NO. 122
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 46 OF TITLE 25 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO LIENS FOR RECOVERY OF COSTS INCURRED BY MUNICIPALITIES OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS FOR MAKING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE EXTERIORS OF VACANT BUILDINGS WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE JURISDICTIONS AND TO AMEND CHAPTER 29, TITLE 25, DELAWARE CODE TO ESTABLISH THE PRIORITY OF SUCH LIENS AND OF SIMILAR LIENS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Chapter 46 of Title 25 of the Delaware Code by striking the title of said Chapter in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"CHAPTER 46. LIENS FOR RAZING OR DEMOLITION AND FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE EXTERIORS OF STRUCTURES BY PUBLIC EXPENDITURE."
Section 2. Amend Chapter 46, Title 25, Delaware Code by adding to said chapter the following two new sections:
'Section 4603. Notice; reimbursement; lien; lien docket.
(a) Except where a building or structure is improved under emergency conditions, no lien or personal judgment, as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, may be obtained for the recovery of costs of duly authorized improvements to the exteriors of vacant buildings and the land on which they are situate, including but not limited to repairs to or replacement of structural components, sidewalks, steps, porches, windows, doors, and roofing, hereinafter "exterior improvement costs," so Incurred by any municipality or other political subdivision unless notice to the record owner or owners of such building or structure and to any record lien holders thereof has been given prior to commencement of such exterior improvements. For purposes of this subsection, the mailing of a certified letter, return receipt requested, at least thirty (30) days prior to commencement of any exterior improvements, to the last known address of the record owner, owners or lien holders and notifying same of the address of the property to be improved, the condition of the property and the legal right of the municipality or political subdivision to obtain a judgment against the owner and a lien against the property after completion of the exterior Improvements, shall be deemed sufficient notice. Where a building or structure is improved under emergency conditions, a municipality or political subdivision may subsequently secure a personal Judgment or obtain a lien against the property without first having complied with the foregoirg notice provisions.
(b) In the event any municipality or other political subdivision of this State, in the exercise of its slum clearance and redevelopment authority or its urban renewal authority or its authority in carrying out any duly adopted building code, shall have expended public funds for the purpose of exterior improvements to any abandoned or vacant building deemed to be unsafe or to any other vacant building or structure within its Jurisdiction, after such notice as is provided for in subsection (a) of this section, the sums so expended, with legal interest thereon from the date of expenditure, shall be reimbursed to such municipality or political subdivision, on demand, by the person or persons who were the owner or owners of such building or structure at the time such work of exterior improvement commenced; and if not so reimbursed, said sums, with Interest accrued thereon, may be collected from such owner or owners in an action at law commenced by such municipality or political subdivision within six (6) years after the date of the final expenditure of funds for such exterior improvement costs.
(c) Where a municipality or other political subdivision of this State shall expend public funds for the purpose of exterior improvements to any vacant or abandoned building deemed to be unsafe or any other vacant building or structure within its Jurisdiction, after such notice as is provided for in subsection (a) of this section, such municipality or political subdivision may enter a lien for the amount so expended, with Interest accrued thereon, on the lands and premises on which such work of exterior improvement was performed, in the office of the prothonotary for the county in which such lands and premises are situate in the docket provided for in subsection (d) of this section and such liens shall continue until paid and discharged.
(d) The prothonotary of each county shall prepare a docket to be known as the "lien docket for public expenditures for exterior improvements" in which shall be recorded all liens provided for by subsection (b) of this section. Such liens shall be certified in writing to the prothonotary by the municipality or other governmental subdivision of this State entitled to the same, which certification shall list the owner of the lands and premises as such owner appears on the tax assessment records of such municipality or other political subdivision on the date of lien certification, the principal amount of the lien and the applicable interest rate, and shall identify the lands and premises by brief description and by the parcel number thereof as said parcel number appears on the real estate tax records of such municipality or other governmental subdivision. Such information and the date of filing shall be entered by the prothonotary in the lien docket, which docket shall contain in the back thereof an index according to the name of the owner of the property against which such lien is entered. When any such lien is satisfied by payment, the prothonotary, acting under the supervision of the municipality or other political subdivision holding such lien, shall enter thereon the date of final payment and the words "satisfied in full." The prothonotary shall receive a fee of one dollar(SI.00) for each satisfaction.
Section 4604. Priority of lien; transfer of Lien upon executed sale.
Any lien filed pursuant to this chapter shall have priority over any other lien upon or interest in the lands and premises upon which the building or structure which has received exterior improvements was situated, even though such other lien was entered of record or such interest vested prior to the date of filing of the lien arising under this chapter, excepting any lien for taxes. In the case of sale under execution process of any premises upon which any lien for such public expenditures exists, the lien shall be transferred to the fund arising from the sale in the hands of the officer making the sale, and the premises so sold shall be discharged therefrom."
Section 2. Amend §2901 (b)(1) Chapter 29, Title 25, Delaware Code by adding the following two new subparagraphs:
"f. Charges for the costs of razing or demolition of buildings done through public expenditure; and
g. Charges for duly authorized improvements to the exteriors of buildings done through public expenditure."
Approved July 14, 1989.