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Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

Bills seek to remedy issues related to abandoned and foreclosed homes

HB 2057/SB 5797 tasks the Housing Finance Commission with creating a process where “entities,” such as cities, counties or servicers, can apply to obtain a certificate of abandonment for properties that meet the definition of abandoned.

These bills come out of work throughout the past interim to address homes that have been abandoned in communities, or homes that are in foreclosure and stand vacant. They are currently drafted to be intentionally vague, as the stakeholders continue to work on language that works for all interested parties. Legislators, cities, counties, homeowner advocates, banks and others have been at the table negotiating language.

From a city perspective, we are most concerned with vacant homes in our communities that are a source of blight and pose serious safety hazards. Under current law, cities have little authority to address these properties when citizens call to complain. When homes are in the midst of the foreclosure process, and are vacant, it is difficult to determine who the responsible party is for home upkeep. Cities are caught in the middle and have little recourse to address the safety and blight issues. Cities, and other entities, need a mechanism to establish whether a home is truly abandoned and whether we can access the home to ensure it is secure.

Detailed amendment language is expected in the coming days before the first public hearing on these bills. Both bills are scheduled for public hearing on February 14, HB 2057 in the House Judiciary Committee, and SB 5797 in Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance.

Categories: Housing
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