Cook County Vacant Building Ordinance

On-line Registration of Property

If I own a vacant building in unincorporated Cook County, what do I need to do?

  • Vacant buildings represent a public nuisance the can result in public health and safety issues in our communities and place a financial strain on local government agencies. Therefore, in order to effectively protect the public health, general welfare, and safety of the citizens of Cook County, the County Board has implemented the Cook County Vacant Building Ordinance, effective February 14, 2012.
  • The ordinance requires that vacant property in unincorporated Cook County as well as within “participating” municipality borders  be registered. Owners of a building that has been vacant for more than 30 days in unincorporated area  must register the building with Cook County Building and Zoning (B&Z) Department. $250 one-time registration fee is required.

The list of participating municipalities are as follows:

  1. Village of Ford Heights
  2. Village of Worth
  3. Village of Oak Lawn
  • While the ordinance initially only applies to Unincorporated Cook County, there is an option for local municipalities to participate in the ordinance by entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the County.
  • The Ordinance creates a uniform set of guidelines for the maintenance, enclosure, and security of such properties; and creates penalties for noncompliance.
  • Review a list of Frequently Asked Questions. 
  • If you have questions or concerns, please e-mail us at: