Seaside City Council To discuss Ordinance Forcing Banks To Maintain Abandoned Homes
This is regarding an ordinance that would force banks to fix up abandoned homes.
The abandoned homes in neighborhoods not only bring down property values, but they attract crime and grafitti. It would be great if cities accross the country adopted this type of ordinance. In my real estate practice, I drive through neighborhoods that were once full of families, children, and hopes for a bright future. Now there are empty houses with brown lawns, and remnants of a once happy, bustling neighborhood.
But, homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages need to know the facts. Don't just move out of your house and leave it for the bank. There are other alternatives. In my business, I send out letters to people who are in trouble and I get back about 25% of them with no forwarding address. This tells me that alot of people who are in default are choosing to "just move". There are alternatives and I am committed to educating the public on what they can do if they find themselves in a situation they do not know how to handle.
Information on this can be found on KION.com, A great article appeared in the Monterey County Herald written by Larry Parsons on February 11, 2011.
On February 17, Seaside City Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would force banks and other owners to maintain foreclosed, abandoned homes. If they don't, they could face fines.
City officials say it's more than just that rundown house with the broken windows across the street. If that house looks abandoned, it could bring down the property value of that entire area and hurt the local economy.
The ordinance would require banks to register properties with the city once they get notice it may foreclosed. The city would then have the information and ability to check up on those properties.
Seaside's Redevelopment Project Manager Richard Glenn says this is not just about aesthetics, there are safety concerns too.
"...diminish property value in neighborhoods, draw or attract people to graffiti and otherwise damage the area, break windows. Those kinds of things," said Richard Glenn with Seaside.
Home maintenance means banks need to hire people to mow lawns, fix broken windows, re-paint exterior walls -- anything and everything to keep up with the "neighborhood standard." The city says that standard is created by the quality of other homes within 300 feet.
If banks ignore those homes, they will be penalized. City officials say they don't want to do that, but at the same time, abandoned properties are the lenders' responsibilities.
Generally, if a city code is violated, there's a fine of $250 the first day, $500 the next, and so on. That would apply to abandoned homes if the ordinance is approved. However, the city says it could take a harsher approach. Since the nation's foreclosure crisis, cities were given the right to impose a $1000 a day fine on rundown, vacant residents. Glenn says the city doesn't want to do that.
"We don't see that as necessary. We'd adopt it as an ordinance so it would just be ordinarily enforced with citations. But that's a last resort because we're really looking for compliance," he said.
The city expects banks to comply. Glenns says this ordinance is a standard in the industry and has been successful in other cities like Soledad and Watsonville.
If the ordinance passes its first reading Thursday night, it still has to go through a second reading before taking effect.
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