County Law States Property Owners May not Allow Weeds or Grass to Grow 12 Inches or Higher
So, we’re into June and that neighbor of yours still hasn’t cut his lawn this year. You’ve seen antelopes and snakes nesting on that lot and its killing your property value or -- worse yet -- your attempts to sell your home.
What can you do?
The Anne Arundel County government has a process for dealing with weeded brush and overgrown grass on private property. In fact, the county’s Department of Public Works receives and acts on more than 1,400 requests per year relating to the county’s Weeded Lot law.
Article 13, Title 6, of the Anne Arundel County Code states that a homeowner, occupant, or person in control of real property may not allow or maintain on their property a growth of weeds or grass that is 12 inches or higher. County residents can file complaints against owners who violate these provisions.
How the County Acts on Complaints
When the county receives a complaint, an inspector with the Department of Public Works will investigate the report to verify that the property’s condition violates the county code. If a violation is found, notification is sent to the property owner via a certified letter that the weeds or grass need to be cut.
If the property owner does not comply with the notice, a certified notice is posted on the property for a period of seven days. If the overgrown lot is not cut by the eighth day, a contractor hired by the county is sent to cut the overgrown property, and the property owner is billed for all charges, including overhead. According to the county, this entire process can take as long as three weeks.
If the property owner fails to pay the invoice for mowing, the county may place a tax lien on the property. Moreover, if the overgrown condition of the lot persists, the county can charge the property owner as much as $500 each time the owner fails to cut the property. This violation of the county code also carries civil penalties up to $1,000.
It is important to note, however, that there are certain exemptions to the county’s Weeded Lot law. Specifically, overgrown property does not violate the law if the property is:
- agricultural in nature;
- a natural wooded area; or
- publicly owned and preserved as a natural area, open space or for recreation.
How to Report a Weeded Lot
Anne Arundel County residents can report a weeded lot by contacting the Department of Public Works (DPW) at (410) 222-7582. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Residents also may make a report using the DPW internet contact form, which is available at http://www.aacounty.org/departments/public-works/contact-us/index.html. When using this form, residents should indicate their request as a “weeded lot” and include a physical address in the comment section.
Questions relating to the county’s Weeded Lot law also may be directed to the county’s Bureau of Highways Administration at (410) 222-7321.
Jerry Kline is a Realtor with the Odenton, Maryland, office of Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland (1216 Annapolis Rd., Odenton, MD 21113.) For more information on the local real estate market, contact him at (443) 924-7418, or visit his website (www.JerryKlineRealtor.com) or blog (http://jerryklinerealtor.com/about/jerrys-blog/).