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Jersey City Launches Effort To Get Owners To Secure Abandoned Properties

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Jersey City wants its property owners to clean their act up – or at least board it up.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy announced new security protocols Tuesday for vacant buildings.

Those protocols call for any vacant or abandoned building that is unoccupied for six months or longer to adhere to new board up guidelines put forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The mayor said that currently, many of affected buildings are either left unsecured or boarded up in a "haphazard way," which in turn create public safety concerns and quality of life issues.

"We have seen fires start in vacant buildings and drug activity occur, and by ensuring these properties are properly secured, we can reduce this type of dangerous activity and also improve the quality of life of the neighborhood," Healy said.

The new requirements call for putting up plywood that "fits snuggly in the window with no blind spots and must be a 2x4 attached to a 5/8 exterior plywood with common nails and appropriate screws."

The exterior wood will also be required to be painted white or beige.

The new measures will also affect banks and mortgage service companies who hold any relevant properties.

Property owners will have a deadline and if not met, the city will facilitate the board up and place a lien on the property for the cost.

The new rules also call for the Jersey City Fire Department updating it's marking system for vacant buildings that indicate if there is a hole in the floor, an open roof, damaged fire escapes, missing stairs or if conditions are so severe that no entry is permitted.

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