OKLAHOMA CITY - The battle to rid Oklahoma City of its estimated 12,000 dilapidated and abandoned homes and buildings is cranking up.

But city leaders admit laws that have allowed the city to increase fines to property owners over the condition of homes have been caught up in legal red tape.

“They haven’t actively implemented that,” said Chris Varga with Oklahoma City’s Planning Department.

Varga said the ordinance which allows code enforcement to escalate fines to repeat offenders was passed last year. Fines could jump to $500 per offense.

But how the city is able to prosecute those fines is still being worked out in the courts.

Varga thinks an agreement on how to move forward with the fines is close.

“I think they are knowing that the city is more interested in the issue now,” said Varga about owners of abandoned and dilapidated homes.