Ohio Foreclosure Scene: Attorney General Marc Dann Takes Action

by Peter Vernon on Foreclosure Crisis, States

In a move aimed at fighting the rising numbers of foreclosures in his state, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann made a move to slow the foreclosure process down, and in doing so has attracted the attention of state officials and lawmakers across the country. Citing laws that require lenders to prove that a home is in default before a foreclosure can be pursued, Dann has attempted to make it requisite for lenders to adequately prove to the court through paperwork that they have the right to foreclose on a property before doing so. While this procedure is a law, in the past many courts have overlooked it when allowing foreclosures, since the paperwork takes time to assemble and prove. But in Dann’s eyes, time is just what homeowners in danger of foreclosure need, and if the law provides more of it for them than they are getting, he think that homeowners should be entitled to it.

However, what is truly novel about Dann’s crusade is that he is also advocating that homes subject to state tax liens should be waived until the correct paperwork and procedures are prepared. This raised issues this past Monday in court, as the Common Pleas magistrate rejected Dann’s argument. The magistrate even took it a step further, claiming that dismissing outstanding foreclosures cases in which the state holds liens would be depriving taxpayers of the money that pays for services and infrastructure in their state. Dann objected to this claim, and plans to keep fighting to slow the process of foreclosure in Ohio.

What Marc Dann’s plan shows us is just how serious lawmakers and state officials are about trying to curb the incredible surge in foreclosures. Despite the fact that 2007 set record levels of foreclosure activity in many locations, 2008 is expected to see even higher climbs in the national foreclosure average, and this is leading many people to finally take action. Ohio has been hit especially bad with foreclosures, especially in the Cleveland area, where foreclosures have affected all levels of income and all neighborhoods, from the most crowded inner city locations to the most pristine suburbs. Many of these properties are being sold for well below their actual value, another reason Dann believes the state should slow the foreclosure process. He believes that by getting homeowners to keep their properties and pay off their debts over time, the state will actually save money, since so many foreclosure homes are being bought up by investors for much less than their worth.