Foreclosures - How to Code Enforcement addresses the problem of abandoned and vacant properties

Code Enforcement Departments of the counties and municipalities across the United States have been trying to solve the problems created by the increased workload by increasing number of vacant and abandoned properties due to the continuous search for foreclosures by mortgagees (banks, lenders and lien holders)., confirmed that the rate of "national foreclosure in January 2010 was one foreclosure for every 466 U.S. households,. The most serious problems remain in the west and in Florida, unemployment, economic problems , negative equity, and credit availability are driving the foreclosures. " If a property owner was in arrears with their mortgage payments and could not meet the outstanding debt or carry the mortgage and penalties possible current flow during the pre-foreclosure, they were definitely going to be the position of having to leave your home. In some cases, property owners who were upside down on your mortgage or through financial difficulties in a position in which the expenses were too overwhelming can be chosen only out of their homes, no matter how difficult it was for them and their families. At a time when most jurisdictions, in particular, small local governments are also dealing with the difficulties and dilemmas created by the financial difficulties are reducing manpower and resources, rising foreclosures have been invoice to the departments of code enforcement with the task of trying to keep neighborhoods and communities to become dilapidated, unsafe, and depreciated in value.

The problems were created by vacant residential properties, such as vandalism, insecurity open structures, stagnant pools, to name just a waste of a few, and created huge communities in which the task of protecting and reduce these problems without the help of all who hold the property or residents. Often, property owners who were responsible for maintaining their homes during this difficult time, I felt it was unfair that maintains the obligation to provide for regular maintenance of their property under pain of code enforcement, while the door abandoned house next executed were abandoned and is carried away by the value of their homes and to the detriment of their neighborhoods. According to the latest report from RealtyTrac, a company that monitors foreclosure trends across each state, "Florida posted the nation's second highest foreclosure rate in the state in November 2009 with one in every 165 homes were notified seizure during the month. Florida took the No. 2 California, which saw the country's third largest foreclosure rate. "It was common for members of the community and leaders throughout the State of Florida to feel that the mortgagees were slow to take responsibility for these assets and began to put pressure on county and local governments to address these properties, without using tax dollars to do so.

Foreclosure proceedings in the State of Florida

There are a few different types of foreclosure proceedings in the United States. According to, "A common type of foreclosure is the" deed in lieu of foreclosure "agreement. Often called" strict foreclosure, "the bank claims the title and possession of property to satisfy the debt. The other most common type is the procedure known simply as "foreclosure" or "judicial execution." Here, the property is exposed to auction by a county or court. The winner receives a deed to the property. Banks and other lenders usually the supply of goods in the amount of the debt, and if no other buyers step forward will receive the title of the property. Other states use a different type of exclusion, referred to as "non-judicial" foreclosure, or 'legal'. In this case, when a borrower misses payments, the lender may receive a notice of default and intent to sell. If the borrower does not correct the default with payments or otherwise, the property will be sold at public auction. "In the State of Florida, foreclosures are handled as legal proceedings that are processed through the court system. This may take a little time, 5 months or more, starting with the lender to advise a mortgagor who are in arrears and then recording a lis pendens notice. The homeowner was notified of the complaint, which basically provides notice of intent to foreclose and contains the total debt. The property owner gets to have the opportunity to appear in court to answer the complaint, however, if the court rules against the owner of the property, a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit will be issued. After the final decision issued, an appeal will be issued by the court authorizing a sheriff's sale. Generally, if the owners remain inside the house, would be considered trespassing. If the property is sold by judicial sale, certificate of title be issued to the new property owner or returned to the mortgagee.

Challenges for code compliance

Code enforcement officers often have to deal with code violations in the occupied properties where residents are not aware of code requirements, negligent, economically distressed, or possibly intentionally violating code requirements, however, the case of abandoned or vacant homes, these residents have either left or been forced to leave the property to leave the maintenance of the property and violations of other responsible parties that have control over the properties in most cases are the holders of mortgage bonds. This becomes a difficult task, since the owners were often forced to vacate the property before the property was sold or returned by the mortgagee until the completion of foreclosure property records left unchanged. Code enforcement officers now face to face violations of code on vacant properties where to locate those responsible for these properties was very difficult. Even when the name of a mortgagee is found from the investigation of the foreclosure documents presentation, not only be important corporate bank or financial institution name and address that will not lead directly to a person who was responsible for the property and lost in the maze. With scarce resources and increasing demand from community members, local governments began to adopt various programs of vacant property registration that mortgagees must become more involved with these properties in foreclosure from owners are now in default or when a property became empty and abandoned. Although some logging programs can only consist of providing information as the name of the responsible party and contact information, some programs have required significant steps be taken to a vacant property, abandoned, including the provision of electronic security systems.

Sample Program registration in Broward County Florida

Local governments have had to take measures to strengthen local communities against the negative effects of vacant and abandoned properties and to obtain voluntary compliance with property maintenance and building code violations. For example, in Broward County, Florida, building inspectors and code Code Enforcement Officers respond to numerous complaints and concerns regarding single family homes, condominiums, houses and duplexes that are being vandalized in the forms severe disease, lack of maintenance, security, hazardous conditions, and other health and safety of these existing properties. Requiring mortgage lenders and absentee owners of vacant and abandoned properties to correct such violations presents significant challenges to the code enforcement process. Furthermore, when these properties are abandoned and vacant for long periods of time, there may be unexpected problems for the buyers of these properties, such as problems with maintenance of the property pending construction permits, and code enforcement liens and / or evaluations. In response to recent developments in the housing market that led to a drastic increase in the number of foreclosed homes within the unincorporated areas of Broward County, the Register of Real Property Abandoned / Vacant and Certification of the ordinance was created to protect the unincorporated suburbs become degraded due to the lack of proper maintenance and security of abandoned and vacant properties. The program is designed to deal with properties that are vacant and abandoned who have fallen under the control of a payee as a result of default by the borrower and / or foreclosure. The program also applies to properties that were obtained in a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The program requires mortgage lenders to inspect the default properties to confirm that you are busy. If a property is vacant, the program requires the lender to exercise the abandonment clause in your mortgage contract, registration of property with the County and immediately begin to secure and maintain the property to program standards.

The ordinance also states that a property management company hired locals to perform twice weekly inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of the ordinance, if the property owner is a corporation, partnership, and / or outside the area of ​​creditor / owner. The property also must be published with the name and 24 hour contact number for the property manager who can respond to problems or concerns. Inspections and certification of this program provides additional protection for buyers of foreclosed homes in the unincorporated areas of Broward County, to require all owners of these properties are acquired through a Certificate of Title (Foreclosures and Statements) in accordance with Chapter 45, Florida Statutes or under a deed in lieu of foreclosure / purchase for a Certificate of Inspection foreclosure property before a sale, transfer or other disposition. This requirement allows the realization of a rapid visual inspection of the property and an inspection report by an officer of the implementation of the code to provide a disclosure of any breach of the codes of maintaining the property, county liens and / or fees special property taxes and also identify outstanding building permits.

The measures taken to address the problems with foreclosures

While federal, state and local levels, look for ways to help distressed homeowners agree to their homes or to help buyers and investors to acquire foreclosed homes for repair, maintenance and occupied, banks are also have focused on addressing the concerns of local governments in regard to the problems associated with vacant and abandoned properties. Mortgagees may use their own staff or hire the services of companies such as asset managers or mortgage servicer to handle many functions and responsibilities related to foreclosed properties from pre-foreclosure through conservation ultimately belong the sale or transfer to a new owner. Companies use a variety of staff to handle such broad areas as property management, real estate and title services and have begun to place greater emphasis on the preservation of property and code compliance. These companies used by banks that use their services have recently focused their attention on the requirements of the ordinance of the properties under management, while promoting a partnership with local jurisdiction enforcement of code to help to alleviate problems with vacant and abandoned properties and create a better method of communication when problems do not resolve property maintenance problems. According to information provided on the website of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the organization promotes the use of the MERS ® Mortgage Electronic Registration System database for a list of contacts for the preservation of the property to help local jurisdictions in their efforts, especially to achieve open and unguarded, vacant properties.


The properties remain abandoned, neglected, and unsecured over a long period of time, which may include years, against mortgagees, as these conditions remain valid property values ​​continue to fall, the cost of repairs to increase due to vandalism and deterioration and mortgagees responsibility remain as squatters and children have access within the residence unsecured. For code enforcement to be truly proactive, take measures to prevent the problem of not dealing with them after the fact. Although most jurisdictions charge a fee for the registration of these properties, the fees are usually intended to offset operating costs for the program that includes all the administrative work and the larger field of research work that these vacant and abandoned properties require. The proactive nature of these programs to seek the preservation of goods and service providers responsible for working to reduce the cost of mortgage lenders and local jurisdiction. Fines and charges that are placed on these properties, due to sanctions daily operating costs and mitigation work such as performing board-ups, reducing standing water, lot mowing, and trash, garbage collection that can reach in the hundreds and even thousands. Because many of these properties remain in the name of former owner until the property is transferred and the new owner is duly registered with the county records, most jurisdictions are only required to quote the headline that appears in the records your tax advisor or made to address violations. Registration programs have achieved property numerous goals, including greater responsibility and accountability for mortgage holders with respect to these assets, compliance with local property maintenance and building safety codes, and a greater attention to make these properties more viable for the property and steps toward greater re-occupation. The properties are still occupied more and less are bank owned or abandoned, unless the necessity of such ordinances and vacant property registration programs.