Milwaukee Council Approves Ordinance Identifying Homes Near Foreclosure
On June 23, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel published an article titled Aldermen pass measure targeting zombie houses.
Aldermen pass measure targeting zombie houses
An ordinance that — Scooby Doo-style — unmasks the ghosts in control of zombie houses was approved by the Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday.
The measure also requires lenders to give the city a heads-up when residential properties near foreclosure.
“It is an attempt to better know proactively homes that may become vacant,” said Ald. Jim Bohl, a co-sponsor of the measure.
The information can be used to intercede in a potential abandonment by connecting residents who are at risk of losing their homes with reliable mortgage counselors, Bohl said.
And it helps reduce blight in neighborhoods troubled by zombie homes — abandoned and often decrepit houses with no entity with clear responsibility — by broadening disclosure requirements for lenders and mortgage service providers.
“If we get notice of potential foreclosures, the city is in a better position to make sure vacant and abandoned properties are boarded up and secure and someone will be responsible for grass cutting, snow shoveling and general maintenance,” said Ald. Bob Bauman, another of the bill’s sponsors.
Besides advance notice of foreclosure, the measure requires the lender to register the property’s location, the lender and borrower of record, the current owner of the loan, the mortgage service company as well as contact information for whoever is responsible for inspecting, securing and maintaining the property.
The ordinance requires periodic inspections and updates of any change inthe registered information.
Mayor Tom Barrett said he welcomed the measure, which he said fits hand-in-glove with the city’s Strong Neighborhood Plan.
And it addresses the city’s zombie house problem by making clear “who’s got legal responsibility for the property,” he said.
Please click here to view the article online.
Please click here to view the full text of Ordinance 141900 [pdf].
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