Abandoned foreclosures put on 'Wall of Shame'

Mayor of Seattle suburb photographs unkempt properties and posts the photos, along with the names of the lenders, on the city's website.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Sep 17, 2012 10:51AM

City of Auburn, Wash.Officials of cities whose landscapes are marred by abandoned, ill-kept foreclosed homes have tried a variety of tactics to try to force lenders to keep up the properties they repossess.


In Auburn, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, Mayor Pete Lewis is photographing those homes and posting the photos on a "Wall of Shame," with the names of the lender responsible for each house included.


"They can complain if they want to," Lewis, a former banker, says of the lenders.


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The city's website includes 19 photos today. Lenders listed include Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, GMAC Mortgage, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, as well as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Some posts include lenders' email addresses.


The website adds:

"Citizens who have concerns about abandoned properties and want to help the City get action on them can access information below about the mortgage holders. Citizens are encouraged to write, phone or email the mortgage holders or property preservation contacts and request action be taken on one or more abandoned properties. These efforts may help convince the mortgage holders and property preservation companies to act more quickly and consistently."

The city of about 70,000 also is using more conventional tactics: code-enforcement citations that can lead to liens against the property, which keep the home from being sold until the fine is paid and the lien is lifted.

Cities around the country have tried a variety of tactics to get lenders and loan servicers to maintain foreclosed properties. The city of Los Angeles has sued two lenders in civil court. In South Bend, Ind., neighbors have resorted to buying nearby foreclosed properties themselves.

We're skeptical that bad publicity will do much to persuade lenders to clean up their acts and their properties. But at least it gives residents information on where to direct their complaints. And the liens might get the banks' attention.


Are vacant foreclosed properties a problem in your community? What are your local officials doing?


the government can do what they want in your town and if you owe 1000. in fines after 30 days they are like loan sharks with what they charge you pay at least a 40% fine on top of what you owe, you have no way to get ahead pay the fine or loose the place or go to jail even, and not there fault because levis and dams are not built right because the so called shoddy work building them and the weather ,plus where they build if you plan on building build higher than flood height then hopefully you don't have to build over and over again, think your in the land of oz and following the yellow brick road to get your brain fixed


Sep 29, 2012 7:27AM
Honestly it makes sense, if the banks foreclose a property and let it fall to ruins they should be put on the spotlight for doing so. Why not allow people who are unemployed to help rebuild, and maintain the properties? That would create some jobs, and for the homeless; say you have a 3 or 4 bedroom place falling to ruin, if a homeless group of 3 or 4 people want to have a home to cohabit, fix it and then live there. Those who are homeless also become part of the foreclosure maintenance crew once they (or if they) pick a foreclosed wreck house. The money still owed on the foreclosed lot gets taken and put into either social security, or education by the banks as a "derelict property fine" Put this plan in motion and I'd bet you'd see banks scrambling to fix their lots or find loopholes, or loopholes, or find some loopholes to avoid paying a dime while still screwing over people they originally screwed over again. We the people of this country have two choices, and it isn't just the elections. Either we stay apathetic and watch our country be bought, and sold beneath our feet. Or we the people of this nation rise up and take back what's ours, this nation needs a new revolution from education, to banks, to the government themselves. How many more politicians are we going to watch ruin our nation before we say enough? When it's too late? most likely, as it seems takes a tragedy to get us to even acknowledge one another...
Sep 29, 2012 7:15AM
Yeah....everything is Obama's Fault!.NOT. This has been long time coming before Obama came into office. It took all these years to get to this point, it's going to take just as long if not longer to fix it. WAKE UP AMERICA!
Sep 29, 2012 6:55AM
After almost six months of waiting, I finally bought a house that had been vacant for more than a year,  It was a short sale and in deplorable, unlivable condition.  When the bank finally decided to move, they wanted to close within four days!  As it was a cash transaction, I could do it.  I have employed three to five people fixing it up (new baths, kitchen, new floors, a/c, etc.)  We have corrected every code violation in the home.  It looks fabulous now, but could you believe that during the process, some neighbor complained to the city that it needed to be painted!  We had four permits in the window, and you would think the neighbors would be pleased that we were finally fixing this eyesore! To keep the neighbor happy, I had the crew paint the exterior before we did anything else.  

The bottom line is that our home went from the worst in the neighborhood to the best.  I am pleased  that five great workers have had full time work for almost two months, the house looks fabulous, and some wonderful person or family will now have a great place to live.  Hopefully, I will also make some money in the transaction, to be used for our next project.  
Sep 29, 2012 6:53AM

Simple... have the city forclose and then have the people on welfare out there tearing them down.

Remove the attractive nuisance and welfare people have to work to get paid.  They learn a work ethic and the city gets rid of their eyesores.  If the lender won't take care of the property, they lose it.  It's the American way.  Either be responsible or pay the price.

Sep 29, 2012 6:17AM
This is Obama's new world of hope and change ..the "new normal" ..you get what you aholes vote for  ..happy now?
Sep 29, 2012 5:58AM
Horrible artcile, the title gave the impression that it would be showing the poor kep foreclosures---not a PR stunt o buy NOW!
Sep 29, 2012 5:38AM
The Chaos, they can not give you a answe, its the law, Privacy unless you are a realator then you need to have your lisence registered at the city and state levels. Yoiu then could give them you number in your cert. and they would mail you the info. Bt heres what I did. I called a relator and asked to have them look at it for me and give the inf so I could consider buying it, I of cousehad not real thought in buying it. They sent me the listing and it had the owner.
Sep 29, 2012 5:26AM
I've tried to get nformation from both banks and city officials about this proble for the simple fact that there are 3 abondoned homes on my block alone.  Two of these have been abandoned since we moved in 3 years ago. No one will give me an answer as to what, if anything, is being done about this.I'm really begining to lose faith in the political/financial aspect of this country. No one cares for the litte man who scrapes by in life anymore. Its really sad to see the country m family fought and died for falling down this downward spiral. And i fear that when change come it will be to late.
Sep 29, 2012 5:25AM
Exactly, Pastisprologue!  What can we do?  Obama is talking about printing money to buy up these homes and then sell them, but there are already companies circling like vultures to buy them up and then jack up the price.  And, it should be trialed first in a few areas to see if it will even work instead of just throwing good money after bad on a national scale.  Drug companies have to trial meds, the gov't should as well.
Sep 29, 2012 5:08AM

Long gone are the lenders who are also part of the community/town that the property is in. Most lenders are now internet lenders or banks that are huge, out of state companies. They dont have a stake in the town so they dont care about what happens to the property.


PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance) guarantees that the bank gets their money back, so they dont care if the house falls apart. They know there are far too many properties out there for towns to do anything about, and the worst that would happen is the lender not paying property tax would cause the state to put a lein on it and eventually take the property over. But by that time, the bank's interest in the property is gone.

Sep 29, 2012 5:03AM

Ronald Reagan started it.  He said you are wealthy, just use the equity  in your home.

I personally know some one who bought a house in1992 for 129,000  When the stuff

hit the fan in 2008, his mortgage was up to  650,000.  At that time he had 3cars2jet ski's

a 22ft boat  and a Harley. and thought Reagan was the most wonderful man in the


Sep 29, 2012 4:53AM
I don't understand why the banks don't rent them out to make money and put it back into the economy. It makes no damn sense.  
Sep 29, 2012 4:47AM
They are not doing anything. the drug pushers are. They are turning them into meth labs which end up exploding and burning down.  No more house.  If we call the cops they don't do anything, not even running them out of the area.
Sep 29, 2012 4:42AM

A big downfall is letting the public know which homes are vacant! that means people can use them as drug dens or steal the copper plumbing, etc. The criminals will cause more damage to the home. Sad i would not want my town to do this. I dont think they really thought this one through.

Sep 29, 2012 4:16AM


burn em down give the fireman practice..... make a park.....

Sep 29, 2012 4:12AM
This is really funny to me...I was inquiring about an empty house in a quiet neighborhood that I wanted to BUY and fix. NOBODY wanted to hear about it 25 years ago...NOW it's a problem?? Screw these people who want, want, want!! Well you got...... a beat up house!! LOL
Sep 29, 2012 4:01AM
The neighborhood should burn them down and start a garden
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