City can put ‘weed liens’ on overgrown Huntsville properties

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – With all this summer rain, you’ve probably noticed your grass is growing more than you would probably like.

Even though you may put on some sunscreen and take out the riding mower, your neighbor may not put in that extra effort. They may even let their lawn become a public nuisance, which could earn them a fine.

The city has options if a yard looks a mess. A city ordinance is even in place to give them the authority to address overgrown lawns, and even take matters into their own hands at times.

It’s an issue that comes up regularly this time of year, and was on the Council’s agenda Thursday night as a public forum item.

City council members are reminding Huntsville residents that they are authorized to put a “weed lien” on properties that have been declared a public nuisance.

It’s not an ‘out to get you’ ordinance, but a way to help keep the community looking its best.

Councilman Bill Kling explains it’s a combined effort.

“The city development department, they go all over the city, sometimes they get calls from city council members, or even from members of the public about certain areas to take a look at,” said Kling.

If workers find that lawns are out of compliance with the law, then they will issue a citation. They will set a date for the property owner to clear it out. If they don’t do it within that set period of time, they’ll do it themselves, charging you a fee.

If you chose not to pay the fee, Kling says it could get worse.

“Then they’ll put a lien on the property. That means 20 years from now, you cannot sell the property until the lien to the City of Huntsville has been taken care of.”

The city ordinance says workers have to send a registered letter to notify property owners, before they take matters into their own hands.

Kling adds it’s the same rules statewide, they aren’t trying to be nit-picky or unfair.  No one really wants to have one-foot-tall grass next door to them.



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