Vacant Buildings

CODE OF ORDINANCE                                                                                                   DIVISION 4 - Vacant Buildings

What Is A "Vacant" Building

A "vacant" building means any commercial building in which no person or entity actually conducts a lawfully licensed business in such building; or any residential building in which no person lawfully resides in any part of the building; or a mixed use building in which neither a licensed business nor a lawful resident exists. Further, any building in which more than one-half of the total exterior windows and/or doors are broken, boarded or open without a functioning lock shall be deemed "vacant" regardless of occupancy. A condo unit is not considered a building on its own.


The City has found that vacant buildings are eyesores and hazards which often offer easy shelter for criminal activities, arson and accidental fires.  As well, vacant buildings cause surrounding areas to suffer from stagnant or declining property values and create significant costs to the City by virtue of the need for constant monitoring and occasional cleanup.  Accordingly, the purpose of this division is to require the registration of all vacant buildings, both residential and commercial, which will assist the City government in protecting the public health, safety and welfare of its residents by encouraging the prompt rehabilitation and permanent occupancy of such abandoned structures.

What you can do

  • If you are the owner or agent of a "vacant" building you can fill out the Vacant Building Registration Form and mail it in or drop it off to the office.
  • If you would like to inform us on a possible "vacant" building for our department to investigate, please fill out the Complaint Form and mail it in or drop it off to the office.      


  • Develop and maintain records for vacant buildings within the City of Gloucester.
  • Insure vacant buildings are registered by form, according to Sec. 5-37.
  • Insure the registration fee is paid and subsequent fees for any property upkeep by the City of Gloucester are paid and recorded according to Sec. 5-38.
  • Send annual building statements to owners of vacant buildings according to Sec. 5-38.
  • Enforce the provisions of the Ordinance Div 4 and when required enforce Sections 5-39.2 with authority set forth in Sections 1-15 of this code.
  • Ensure buildings that are removed from the vacant building list merit the criteria set forth in Section 5-39.3 and any fees owed to the City are paid before release of building.
  1. Inspectional Services

    Physical Address
    3 Pond Road
    Gloucester, MA 01930

    Office Hours

    Monday to Wednesday
    8:30 am to 4:00 pm

    8:30 am to 6:30 pm

    8:30 am to 12:30 pm