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Vacant Structures Program

A Vacant BuildingIn November of 2020, the Independence City Council passed Ordinance No. 19175 adopting the "Vacant Structure Registration and Maintenance" program.  The purpose of this program is to identify, register and monitor vacant structures, and set forth the responsibility for all people owning vacant structures, to speed the rehabilitation and re-occupancy of said vacant structures.

As part of the program, a vacant structure means:

  • Any dangerous/unsafe structure, as provided by Section 4 of the Municipal Code for the City of Independence;
  • Any residential structure that has not been legally occupied for 180 days, as defined by Municipal Code Section 4.16.001;
  • Any free standing commercial, office or industrial real property that has less than fifty percent (50%) of the total area of the building (excluding stairwells, elevator shafts, and mechanical rooms) being legally occupied or is not being used for it’s authorized occupancy for more than180 days;
  • Any multifamily residential building or structure containing five (5) or more dwelling units when eighty percent (80%) of the dwelling units are unoccupied.


The registration is valid for 6-months and must be renewed every 6-months until the structure is occupied or demolished.  The application, including the Independence Police Letter of Enforcement and registration payment must be made within 14 days.  

Registration Application

Any owner that fails to comply with the registration requirements shall be subject to the general penalty provisions as provided in Chapter 4 of the Independence City Code.  All fees, costs and charges assessed or incurred by the City shall constitute a lien on the real estate upon which such vacant structure is situated.

Maintenance Requirements

The Vacant Property Registration Program requires maintenance to a certain standard.  The property and structure must:

  • Be in compliance with the City’s Property Maintenance Code;
  • Replace dead landscaping in accordance with the UDO;
  • Remove or screen dumpsters in accordance with the UDO;
  • Remove all signage and sign structures;
  • Pools, spas, and other water features shall be kept in working order so that water remains clear and free of pollutants and debris, or drained and kept dry and free of debris;
  • Keep all fire protection systems intact and functioning. Any registered owner wishing to disconnect the systems, must provide notification to Community Development, Fire Department and Police Department and ensure that the building no longer contains any materials or fire load beyond the structure itself.
  • Any disconnected or discontinued fire protection systems will be required to be brought up to current City adopted fire code.
  • Be maintained in a weather-tight and secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons. Boarding of openings can only be temporary. 


Properties will receive regular proactive inspections to ensure compliance with the program maintenance requirements.  Any violations must be addressed.


Learn more about the Vacant Structure Registration Program by contacting Cheryl Wrisinger or Perry Hill at or by phone at (816) 325-7628.

Vacant Structure Brochure