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(a) The owner(s) of any dwelling structure that has become vacant, as defined in subsection (d) of this Section 1351.07, shall within sixty (60) days after the structure becomes vacant, or within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this Section 1351.07, whichever is later, register with the Building Commissioner and designate an authorized agent located in Cuyahoga County for each vacant dwelling structure. The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration. The owner shall be required to annually renew the registration as long as the dwelling structure remains vacant and shall pay an annual registration fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each registered dwelling structure. The owner shall notify the Building Commissioner within twenty (20) days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Building Commissioner for such purposes. The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Village against the owner or owners of the dwelling structure. The failure of the owner of the vacant dwelling structure to obtain a deed for the property or to file the deed with the County Recorder shall not excuse the owner from compliance with this Section 1351.07.
(b) If a foreclosure action has been filed with respect to property containing a vacant dwelling structure, the plaintiff in the foreclosure action shall be required to comply with the provisions of this Section 1351.07 if both of the following apply:
(1) The plaintiff in the foreclosure action is a mortgagee of the property; and
(2) The plaintiff in the foreclosure action has assumed possession or control of the property.
(c) In addition to any other information required by the Building Commissioner, the registration statement shall include the name, street address and telephone number of a natural person eighteen (18) years of age or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving, on behalf of such owner or owners, notices of violations of Village ordinances and for receiving process, in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding related to the use or maintenance of the property or the dwelling structure, including but not limited to notices and processes served in connection with the enforcement of the Village Housing Maintenance Code and/or Building Code. The authorized agent must maintain a physical office in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, or must actually reside within Cuyahoga County, Ohio. An owner who is a natural person and who meets the requirements of this subsection as to location of residence or office may designate himself as agent. By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this Section 1351.07, the owner is consenting to receive any and all notices of violations of Village ordinances and to receive process, in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding related to the use or maintenance of the property or dwelling structure, including but not limited to proceedings related to the enforcement of the Village Housing Maintenance Code and/or Building Code, by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent's designation for the purpose of this section until the owner notifies the Building Commissioner in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
(d) For purposes of this Section 1351.07, "vacant" means a structure which is lacking habitual presence of human beings who have a legal right to be on the premises, or at which substantially all lawful residential occupancy has ceased, or which is substantially devoid of contents. In determining whether a dwelling structure is vacant, it is relevant to consider, among other factors, the percentage of the overall square footage of the structure or floor area to the occupied space, the condition and value of any items in the structure and the presence of rental or for sale signs on the property; provided that a dwelling structure shall not be deemed vacant if it has been used as a residence by a person entitled to possession for a period of at least three months within the previous nine month period and a person entitled to possession intends to resume residing at the property; and further provided that a dwelling structure containing more than one dwelling unit shall be considered vacant when all of the dwelling units within the structure are vacant. If an owner fails to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for any structure for which a certificate of occupancy is required or a rental registration is required pursuant to Section 1353.03 of the Codified Ordinances, the structure will be presumed vacant.
(e) Whoever fails to comply with the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar ($1,000) fine. Each and every day in violation shall constitute a separate offense.