Bank Foreclosure Property Registry Ordinance in Florida

by Peter Vernon on States

Florida is one of the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. And the growing number of bank foreclosure property is becoming a major problem that needed immediate attention from the local governments.

Foreclosure properties are magnets to thieves, squatters and vandals and their unkempt yards can reduce property values in the neighborhood. Additionally, they can also be health hazard especially in a bank foreclosure property with pool that can become a breeding place for mosquitoes.

Local government officials recognized the problems that foreclosed homes could bring and are seeking ways to keep them safe and presentable. One of the tools being considered is a foreclosure registry ordinance.

Some of the cities and municipalities that have implemented or are planning to develop foreclosure registry ordinances are Clearwater, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Treasure Island, Coral Springs and Hillsborough County.

A typical foreclosure registry ordinance requires lenders and banks to register their distressed properties with local governments after the foreclosure proceeding has been initiated. In Treasure Island, the ordinance provides that each registrant should pay an annual fee of $100 to the city. A fine of $500 will be imposed on owners who failed to register and pay the annual fee.

The registry ordinance was adopted by Treasury Island in December of last year because many bank foreclosure property in the city then were abandoned and on the brink of becoming blights to neighborhoods. About 4 percent of houses in the city were in foreclosure last year.

City attorney Maura Kiefer recalled that lenders and banks used to ignore pleas from the city to maintain the foreclosure homes on their inventory.

Meanwhile, Clearwater city employees also had little success in their appeal to lenders to maintain the foreclosure homes on their inventory. Concerned over the 1,300 repossessed homes in the city, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard announced the need for the city to be proactive and address the problem of foreclosure immediately to keep them from becoming urban blight and affecting property values.

A registration may provide a local government with contact information on responsible parties, thereby making it easier to contact them if there are problems with the foreclosure homes. The fees may vary on the total amount that the local government spent to maintain and secure the foreclosed houses. In 2008, Clearwater shell out about $951 to upkeep and maintain 33 bank foreclosure property.