Oswego Adopts Ordinance to Maintain Foreclosed Properties
On March 25, the Chicago Tribune (Aurora Beacon-News) released an article discussing an ordinance adopted by Oswego, Illinois that protects taxpayers from foreclosed property maintenance bills.
Oswego adopts ordinance to maintain foreclosed properties
Oswego trustees have adopted an ordinance to create a special kind of lien so taxpayers are not left with the bill to maintain foreclosed properties.
The state of Illinois adopted a law in 2010 that authorizes municipalities to record a “priority lien” to ensure priority payment for costs associated with maintaining a property at the time of a foreclosure sale.
Village officials said municipal liens on properties often are trumped by other liens, leaving little or nothing left for local governments to do to recover costs for securing windows and doors, weed removal or lawn mowing.
The average maintenance cost to the village has ranged from $250 to $2,500 per property, officials said.
“Generally there is no money remaining after paying off the loan so the liens are wiped out by the foreclosure and the village can get nothing. With the priority liens the entire procedure is changed,” said Oswego Community Development Director Rod Zenner.
Zenner said under the new procedures when someone buys a foreclosed property the money is used to pay off any outstanding taxes and the village is paid to recoup its expenses.
“The remaining money then goes toward the outstanding mortgage. That way we are guaranteed that the residents of the village will not bear the costs to maintain the property,” Zenner said.
Zenner said there has not been a “tremendous problem” with poorly maintained foreclosed properties in the village but the situation has happened.
“The real problem cases are the people that move out long before the bank takes over and they start providing maintenance. While there aren’t a lot of structures that we have trouble with we do look at each individual property,” Zenner said.
“That one house in the middle of a nice neighborhood is stressful to every resident in the neighborhood – especially the people that live next door. Anything that we can do to improve the situation is of great value to the neighbors,” he said.
Zenner said the majority of the foreclosed properties have been residential structures, although the village did have one commercial property to deal with last year.
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