Proposed State Legislation Pertaining to Maintenance of Vacant Properties
Recently, several states have introduced proposed pieces of legislation pertaining to maintenance of vacant properties. In the case of Indiana (HB 1411), legislation has been proposed pertaining to tenant occupied properties.
Proposed State Legislation Pertaining to Maintenance of Vacant Properties
Please see below for a list of recently introduced pieces of legislation pertaining to maintenance of vacant properties. Please click on the provided links for more information including full bill texts.
Oklahoma OK HB 1666 (“Neglected or Abandoned Property Nuisance Abatement Act”)
On January 22, HB 1666 was introduced to the Oklahoma State Legislature by Representative David Dank (Republican, District 85). The proposed legislation had its first reading on February 2nd, and on its second reading on February 3rd it was referred to the County and Municipal Government Committee.
Summary of Provisions: “Any person may file a civil action for the recovery of damages as authorized by this act caused by the failure or neglect of the owner of a single or multi-family dwelling structure that has become a nuisance.”
“The action can be maintained as a class action pursuant to the provisions of Section 2023 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes.”
“The petition shall also include, as an attachment, a map showing the subject property at the center of a two-mile square grid in a manner that allows a determination of the identify of real property owners for parcels located partially or wholly within such two-mile grid.”
“The area described in subsection D of this section shall be defined to be the zone of presumptive adverse effect for purposes of this act.”
“If the plaintiff or plaintiffs can present a prima facie case that the property identified in the petition is a nuisance or that the subject property causes nuisance conditions within the zone of presumptive adverse effect, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff or plaintiffs have incurred the damages described by this act and shall be entitled to the other remedies authorized by this act.”
“If the plaintiff or plaintiffs in an action filed pursuant to the provisions of this act establish a prima facie case of nuisance, then there shall be rebuttable presumption that the minimum amount of damage incurred by each plaintiff shall be a decrease of twenty-five percent (25%) of the fair cash value of each and every parcel of real property owned by such plaintiff within the zone of presumptive adverse effect.”
Proposed bill text: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2015-16 INT/hB/HB1666 INT.PDF
New Jersey NJ SB 2702 (“Interior Property Maintenance”)
On January 15, SB 2702 was introduced in the New Jersey Senate by Senator Jeff van Drew (Democrat District 1) and referred to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. .
Synopsis: Requires creditors to maintain interior of vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure.
Statement: This bill would require creditors to maintain the interior of vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure. Current law only requires creditors to maintain the exterior of vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure. The interiors of vacant and abandoned residential properties present a host of serious maintenance issues to neighbors. For instance, mold, vermin, and fire hazards can easily affect neighbors, particularly in the case of attached housing. This bill would extend creditors’ responsibility to maintain vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure to include the interior of such property in order to protect neighbors and to prevent municipalities from bearing such maintenance costs.
The bill would also allow municipalities to adopt ordinances providing for a fine of $1,500 for each day a maintenance violation concerning the interior of a vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure goes uncorrected following a 30-day window to correct, or a 10-day window to correct in the case of an imminent threat to public health and safety. Current law only allows municipalities to adopt ordinances providing for such penalties with respect to the exterior of vacant and abandoned residential property under foreclosure.
Under the bill, the deadlines for correcting interior violations may be extended if a court order is needed to enter a property to make such corrections.
Proposed bill text: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S3000/2702_I1.PDF
Rhode Island HB 5067 (“An Act Relating to Property-Mortgage and Foreclosure Sale”)
On January 14, HB 5067 was introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Synopsis: This bill requires mortgagees, upon initiating a foreclosure, to file a copy of the notice with the municipal clerk, to appoint an agent for service of process, and to maintain the property in the event it becomes vacant during the foreclosure process.
Proposed bill text: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText15/HouseText15/H5067.pdf
New York NY SB 1779 (“The Good Neighbor Act”)
On January 14, S1779 was introduced and referred to the Housing, Construction, and Community Development Committee.
Synopsis: An act to amend the real property actions and proceedings law, in relation to requiring a plaintiff in a mortgage foreclosure action to maintain the subject property in good faith
Purpose: To require plaintiffs in mortgage foreclosure actions to Act in good faith at the commencement of a foreclosure action and throughout the foreclosure process
Summary of Provisions: “Section 1307 of the real property, actions and proceedings law is amended to require plaintiffs from the commencement of foreclosure proceedings to obtain a mortgage foreclosure in ‘good faith’ and defines ‘good faith’ as honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable standards of fair dealing.”
Justification: Due to New York State’s struggling financial situation a financial crisis emerged causing citizens to fall behind on their mortgages and in many instances leave or abandon their homes. In some instances the foreclosing institution will commence the process but not follow through or delay taking control of the property which in some instances can cause the property to become unmaintained and blighted in the surrounding neighborhoods. This law would obligate mortgage foreclosure plaintiffs to act in good faith when it commences a foreclosure and throughout the foreclosure process. Financial institutions cannot delay in taking action in controlling and providing upkeep on the vacant dwelling itself.
Proposed bill text: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S1779-2015#Text
Connecticut CT HB 6551 (“An Act Concerning the Registration and Maintenance of Foreclosed Properties”)
HB 6551 was introduced to the Connecticut general Assembly by Rep. Christopher Rosario, 128th Dist. And was referred to
The Joint Committee on Housing and on February 3rd 2015 it was “Reserved for Subject Matter Public Hearing”.
Proposed bill text: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/TOB/H/2015HB-06551-R00-HB.htm
Kansas KS SB84 (“Senate Bill 84”)
On January 27, SB84 was introduced to the Kansas State Legislature. On January 28, it was referred to the Committee on Commerce, with a hearing on February 5. A second hearing is scheduled for February 9.
Synopsis: An act concerning cities; relating to the qualifications and rehabilitation of abandoned property; amending K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 12-1750 and 12-1756a and repealing the existing sections.
Proposed bill text: https://legiscan.com/KS/text/SB84/2015
The following state has proposed legislation pertaining to tenant occupied properties:
Indiana HB 1411 (“A Bill for an Act to Amend the Indiana Code Concerning Property”)
On January 14, HB 5067 was introduced by Representative Dan Forestal (Democrat, District 100) in the Indiana General Assembly and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Please see following for more information from the Senate website.
Synopsis: Foreclosure prevention and post-foreclosure leases. Requires a court, in a mortgage foreclosure action with respect to an occupied dwelling, to consider evidence concerning the effect of the foreclosure. Requires the court to withhold entry of judgment in a foreclosure action for 180 days if the court finds:
(1) entry of a judgment of foreclosure will have a negative effect on the occupant or neighborhood or may lead to the house becoming vacant; and
(2) there is a reasonable possibility that withholding entry of judgment in a foreclosure action will reduce the negative effects. Permits a court to require a mortgagee to rent a dwelling to the debtor after entry of the judgment of foreclosure if the mortgagee does not intend to file a praecipe for sale within 60 days after entry of the judgment and certain other conditions are met. Provides that certain maintenance obligations that apply to landlords do not apply to a mortgagee-landlord.
Proposed Bill Text: http://iga.in.gov/static-documents/5/e/1/0/5e10ef5f/HB1411.01.INTR.pdf
Safeguard Properties is the mortgage field services industry leader, preserving vacant and foreclosed properties across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Safeguard provides the highest quality service to our clients by leveraging innovative technologies and proactively developing industry best practices and quality control procedures. Consistent with Safeguard’s values and mission, we are an active supporter of hundreds of charitable efforts across the country. Annually, Safeguard gives back to communities in partnership with our employees, vendors and clients. We also are dedicated to working with community leaders and officials to eliminate blight and stabilize neighborhoods. Safeguard is dedicated to preserving today and protecting tomorrow. Website: www.safeguardproperties.com.