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HB 3160 would exempt home-rule municipalities from the 4 year limit on filing an application to dispose of an abandoned estate. The home-rule municipality could file outside the 4 year limit if it is necessary to prevent the property from becoming a danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public.
The bill author's statement of intent describes very well the problem this legislation seeks to address.
"If the owner of a property dies without a will and no heir steps forward to maintain the property, it may become abandoned and dilapidated and can quickly become an eyesore or even a danger to the surrounding community. If an estate is never administered, a property can sit vacant and abandoned for years. Municipalities become the caretakers of such abandoned properties and often will file a lien against a property to secure the debt incurred by the city for maintaining them. In these instances the city essentially becomes a creditor of the estate and has standing to file an application for administration of the estate in order to initiate the disposition of the property. Under current law, the application must be filed within four years. A city may not always become aware of the situation within that time frame."
This bill affirms the principle of limited government and allows certain municipalities the discretion to handle abandoned property if it becomes evident later that this is necessary. For this reason, we support HB 3160.
The Senate sponsor is Senator West.