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.
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
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.
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.
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
world. LOST EVERYTHING!
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.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.