Lenders Responsible for Bank Foreclosure Property Maintenance

by on States

When a bank foreclosure property is neglected, neighbors usually do not know who to contact for its maintenance. Abandoned and vacant foreclosure properties are becoming a thorny issue on several neighborhoods in New Jersey as they could become blights and pull down home values of surrounding properties.

Industry experts pointed out that it is the responsibility of lenders and banks to maintain a bank foreclosure property. The upkeep and maintenance may include cutting of grass, draining of pool water, cleaning and boarding up.

Wachovia Bank’s communications manager for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut area Fran Durst said that once foreclosed homes were officially turned over to banks, all municipality and utility issues go with the transfer. He pointed out that the owner of the bank foreclosure property is fully responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.

But most often neighbors do now know who to call regarding abandoned and neglected repossessed homes. Durst suggested calling real estate professionals who have the contact to owners and can relay neighbors’ concerns.

Usually, when it comes to foreclosed homes, the cities or townships can become involved by either contacting lenders or banks or lining up the property to be mowed.

According to the Board of Health for Monroe Township administrator Nancy Marino, grasses on lawns of foreclosed houses can be mowed or cut only during weekends. So far, the local government was able to attend to six distressed properties for the first half of this year and it plans to continue doing more.

Meanwhile, data showed that New Jersey’s foreclosure rate in May dropped 40 percent compared with last year’s figures for the same month. The state’s first quarter foreclosure filings dropped by 30 percent to 11,709 compared with the last quarter of 2008 and 11 percent below the first quarter 2008 figures.

However in March, foreclosure filings in New Jersey jumped by 40 percent to 4,570 compared with February numbers and 2 percent higher than the March 2008 total.

Industry experts explained that the state’s unemployment numbers reached 17,000 for the month of March alone and home prices and sales dropped below the national averagel. From April to June, the number of bank foreclosure property filings increased even more dramatically by 140 percent to over 17,000.

New Jersey is now ranked 12th in terms of high foreclosure filing rates, up from the 16th position in the first three months of this year.