The city of San Jose will now require landlords with vacant Downtown storefronts to register them and keep them maintained while they're empty in an attempt to fight blight.
City Council approved the mandatory storefront registry Tuesday afternoon with the idea to put a spotlight on property owners who don’t maintain their storefront and fine them hundreds of dollars if they don’t comply.
Landlords will have to pay $220 each quarter if their storefront remains vacant for at least a month as a form of encouragement to have landlords register their properties as soon as they become vacant.
"We don't want to see blighted vacant storefronts with no lights on, then you get broken windows, loitering, drug use, crime and that impacts everyone including neighboring businesses," said San Jose city council member Raul Peralez.
The San Jose Downtown Association supports the new registry.
"Hopefully there will be a new incentive to get the lights back on in the building," said Scott Knies from the association.
Landlords who consistently fail to maintain their properties could face fines up to $660 a quarter.
"Even if the fee isn't enough to kick someone into action, the money will fund a code enforcement officer who will be proactive and continue to bug the property owners," said Peralez.
The new storefront registry goes into effect immediately.