Foreclosure Registry could make property owners accountable - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Foreclosure Registry could make property owners accountable

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Drive through any neighborhood in Toledo and you'll find abandoned and vacant homes.   The city wants to track down the owners and get them to clean up their property but the plan faces some opposition.

The home at 2109 Collingwood in the Old West End was built about 150-years ago.   It has lived many lives.  But it's now abandoned and boarded and councilwoman Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) says, "It's another demolition by neglect and we can't afford that."

 

Toledo wants to create Foreclosure Registry to get owners to maintain their property.

In many cases, vacant and abandoned homes cause blight on city streets, hurt property values, attract criminals and squatters.  Toledo demolishes some of those properties at a cost of $6,000 a house. 

So councilwoman Hicks-Hudson wants to create a foreclosure registry where property owners of abandoned homes pay a $200 fee and register their property with the city.  Hicks-Hudson told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "And if you're a good property owner, if you take care of it, you have nothing to worry about.  But we're going after those who have walked away or trying to walk away from their responsibilities."

If Toledo knows who owns a property, the city will know who to go after when that property needs to be demolished or cleaned.

Toledo already has a vacant property registry on the books but it doesn't really address foreclosed homes.  This new measure would require that mortgage companies notify the city of who's responsible for the upkeep of vacant and foreclosed abandoned homes.

But local realtors see a problem.

John Mangas is a realtor with ReMax.  He says, "If they've abandoned the property, they've thrown up their hands and said, we no longer want to have anything to do with this."

And that, realtors say, puts them and the banks on the hook to maintain properties, whether it's grass cutting or snow plowing or fixing broken windows.  Mangas says, "We really don't have legal standing to do that."

But right now, Toledo taxpayers are maintaining these abandoned properties.

This legislation would put out-of-state banks on Toledo's registry list.  It's easier for those banks to ignore properties they own.

We talked with councilman Tom Waniewski (R-Toledo) Monday, he was against the plan but has changed his mind and will vote for it at Tuesday's meeting.   He says, getting out-of-state banks to take care of property they own in Toledo is a loophole that needs to be addressed.

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