Abandoned Derelict Houses/Buildings Program

Res #: 6-22A
Number: 6
Year: 2022
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS the number of old, abandoned, derelict houses and buildings are ever increasing and becoming the responsibility of the municipality to dispose of in order to restore the safety of the area;
WHEREAS these properties with the derelict buildings create a dangerous situation for the municipality as well as becoming unsightly, a nuisance and a breeding ground for pests. Most of these structures are unsafe for entry by the time a municipality gains title to the property through Tax Enforcement Proceedings;
WHEREAS with Environmental regulations and policies on the demolition and clean-up of such properties and the distance to local landfills for the disposal of the materials; the costs associated become extremely expensive;
WHEREAS many of these buildings contain asbestos which increases the expense of demolition and disposal even greater for the Municipalities to bear through ratepayers’ tax dollars; and
WHEREAS neighboring local urban municipalities also support this initiative and will be taking the same resolution to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association Annual Conventions:
1. Town of Churchbridge
2. Town of Saltcoats
3. Village of Grayson
4. Village of Stockholm
5. Village of MacNutt
6. Town of Langenburg
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM Board of Directors lobby the provincial and federal government for funding and programs to assist the multiple municipalities throughout the province to clean up these derelict properties returning the safety and appealing condition to each municipality.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

September 29, 2022

  • Municipalities have the authority to enact a bylaw to address nuisances, which can include buildings in a ruinous or dilapidated state. The bylaw would set out what constitutes a nuisance, how it will be enforced and the consequences for non-compliance. 
  • The bylaw would provide authority for the municipality to investigate, issue remedial orders, register interests on the land, and ultimately complete the remedy action if the property owner fails to do so. Costs can be recovered by the municipality either by civil suit or by adding the amounts to the property taxes. 
  • The Construction Codes Act provides authority for a licensed building official appointed by the municipality, to do the following: 
  • Issue an unsafe condition order to the building owner if the building is being occupied; and 
  • If the property poses an imminent danger, order demolition or repair of the building to limit exposure of individuals to the danger; and 
  • If conditions of an order by the property owner are not complied with, the municipality has the authority to complete the work and add the costs to the taxes of the property. 
  • GR encourages municipalities, who determine they have nuisance properties, to enforce their nuisance abatement bylaw as soon as issues are apparent and prior to taking title of the property through tax enforcement. Once the municipality has taken title, remedial costs cannot be recovered through the sale of the property under The Tax Enforcement Act. Remedial costs added to property taxes prior to the municipality taking title would form part of the tax arrears and would be eligible for recovery through the sale of the property. 
  • Municipalities are encouraged to take action, either under the nuisance bylaw, tax enforcement proceedings or both in sequential order as soon as issues arise to avoid higher overall remedial costs and the accumulation of higher tax arrears. 
  • Municipalities receive unconditional grant funding from the province through the Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant that can be used by the municipality for any purpose. 

The Honourable Don McMorris – Minister of Government Relations, Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations