There was a flurry of publicity more than a year ago when public officials in Minneapolis announced in the media how it was PERFECTLY FINE to enter the yards of vacant houses for purposes of mowing grass and picking up litter. (They could have made a point of mentioning wet, rotten, dumped off phone books from companies like Dex, but oh well)
In fact, if you call the city's 311 service and get put on hold, often you will hear an announcement reminding callers to "adopt" vacant houses and, of course, call 911 if you see somebody breaking inside.
However, memory of the "adopt houses mandate" seems to have faded from public memory, judging by the litter I've been picking up and the overgrown weeds I'm seeing everywhere. On Memorial Day, I mowed two yards at vacant houses: one on Bryant Ave. N., one on Aldrich. I only mowed the front because, well, I just wanted to "spiff up" the houses, not deprive the city of an opportunity to slap charges on some absentee owner, probably a bank. (Especially when I'd already called in the houses to 311 personally)
I believe "spiffing up" these vacant properties is very important right now, as would-be home buyers are house shopping in this lovely summer season, gathering impressions of neighborhoods. I've set a reasonable volunteer standard at TWO FRONT LAWNS, which is less than an hour's work, and it's good exercise.
If somebody has taken charge of more than two lawns under the adopt houses mandate, and started mowing two lawns regularly, I'd love to hear about it.