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: 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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

About Safeguard 
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:



Alan Jaffa

Alan Jaffa is the chief executive officer for Safeguard, steering the company as the mortgage field services industry leader. He also serves on the board of advisors for SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Alan joined Safeguard in 1995, learning the business from the ground up. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2002, and was named CEO in May 2010. His hands-on experience has given him unique insights as a leader to innovate, improve and strengthen Safeguard’s processes to assure that the company adheres to the highest standards of quality and customer service.

Under Alan’s leadership, Safeguard has grown significantly with strategies that have included new and expanded services, technology investments that deliver higher quality and greater efficiency to clients, and strategic acquisitions. He takes a team approach to process improvement, involving staff at all levels of the organization to address issues, brainstorm solutions, and identify new and better ways to serve clients.

In 2008, Alan was recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business in its annual “40-Under-40” profile of young leaders. He also was named a NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist in 2013.


Chief Operating Officer

Michael Greenbaum

Michael Greenbaum is the chief operating officer for Safeguard. Mike has been instrumental in aligning operations to become more efficient, effective, and compliant with our ever-changing industry requirements. Mike has a proven track record of excellence, partnership and collaboration at Safeguard. Under Mike’s leadership, all operational departments of Safeguard have reviewed, updated and enhanced their business processes to maximize efficiency and improve quality control.

Mike joined Safeguard in July 2010 as vice president of REO and has continued to take on additional duties and responsibilities within the organization, including the role of vice president of operations in 2013 and then COO in 2015.

Mike built his business career in supply-chain management, operations, finance and marketing. He has held senior management and executive positions with Erico, a manufacturing company in Solon, Ohio; Accel, Inc., a packaging company in Lewis Center, Ohio; and McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply company in Aurora, Ohio.

Before entering the business world, Mike served in the U.S. Army, Ordinance Branch, and specialized in supply chain management. He is a distinguished graduate of West Point (U.S. Military Academy), where he majored in quantitative economics.



Sean Reddington

Sean Reddington is the new Chief Information Officer for Safeguard Properties LLC. Sean has over 15+ years of experience in Information Services Management with a strong focus on Product and Application Management. Sean is responsible for Safeguard’s technological direction, including planning, implementation and maintaining all operational systems

Sean has a proven record of accomplishment for increasing operational efficiencies, improving customer service levels, and implementing and maintaining IT initiatives to support successful business processes.  He has provided the vision and dedicated leadership for key technologies for Fortune 100 companies, and nationally recognized consulting firms including enterprise system architecture, security, desktop and database management systems. Sean possesses strong functional and system knowledge of information security, systems and software, contracts management, budgeting, human resources and legal and related regulatory compliance.

Sean joined Safeguard Properties LLC from RenPSG Inc. which is a nationally leading Philintropic Software Platform in the Fintech space. He oversaw the organization’s technological direction including planning, implementing and maintaining the best practices that align with all corporate functions. He also provided day-to-day technology operations, enterprise security, information risk and vulnerability management, audit and compliance, security awareness and training.

Prior to RenPSG, Sean worked for DMI Consulting as a Client Success Director where he guided the delivery in a multibillion-dollar Fortune 500 enterprise client account. He was responsible for all project deliveries in terms of quality, budget and timeliness and led the team to coordinate development and definition of project scope and limitations. Sean also worked for KPMG Consulting in their Microsoft Practice and Technicolor’s Ebusiness Division where he had responsibility for application development, maintenance, and support.

Sean is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts and received his Masters in International Business from Central Michigan University. He was also a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force prior to his career in the business world.


General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Linda Erkkila, Esq.

Linda Erkkila is the general counsel and executive vice president for Safeguard and oversees the legal, human resources, training, and compliance departments. Linda’s responsibilities cover regulatory issues that impact Safeguard’s operations, risk mitigation, enterprise strategic planning, human resources and training initiatives, compliance, litigation and claims management, and mergers, acquisition and joint ventures.

Linda assures that Safeguard’s strategic initiatives align with its resources, leverage opportunities across the company, and contemplate compliance mandates. Her practice spans over 20 years, and Linda’s experience covers regulatory disclosure, corporate governance compliance, risk assessment, executive compensation, litigation management, and merger and acquisition activity. Her experience at a former Fortune 500 financial institution during the subprime crisis helped develop Linda’s pro-active approach to change management during periods of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Linda previously served as vice president and attorney for National City Corporation, as securities and corporate governance counsel for Agilysys Inc., and as an associate at Thompson Hine LLP. She earned her JD at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Linda holds a degree in economics from Miami University and an MBA. In 2017, Linda was named as both a “Woman of Influence” by HousingWire and as a “Leading Lady” by MReport.


Chief Financial Officer

Joe Iafigliola

Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Accounting & Information Security departments, and is a Managing Director of SCG Partners, a middle-market private equity fund focused on diversifying and expanding Safeguard Properties’ business model into complimentary markets.

Joe has been in a wide variety of roles in finance, supply chain management, information systems development, and sales and marketing. His career includes senior positions with McMaster-Carr Supply Company, Newell/Rubbermaid, and Procter and Gamble.

Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University’s Honors Accounting program.


AVP, High Risk and Investor Compliance

Steve Meyer

Steve Meyer is the assistant vice president of high risk and investor compliance for Safeguard. In this role, Steve is responsible for managing our clients’ conveyance processes, Safeguard’s investor compliance team and developing our working relationships with cities and municipalities around the country. He also works directly with our clients in our many outreach efforts and he represents Safeguard at a number of industry conferences each year.

Steve joined Safeguard in 1998 as manager over the hazard claims team. He was instrumental in the development and creation of policies, procedures and operating protocol. Under Steve’s leadership, the department became one of the largest within Safeguard. In 2002, he assumed responsibility for the newly-formed high risk department, once again building its success. Steve was promoted to director over these two areas in 2007, and he was promoted to assistant vice president in 2012.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve spent 10 years within the insurance industry, holding a number of positions including multi-line property adjuster, branch claims supervisor, and multi-line and subrogation/litigation supervisor. Steve is a graduate of Grove City College.


AVP, Operations

Jennifer Jozity

Jennifer Jozity is the assistant vice president of operations, overseeing inspections, REO and property preservation for Safeguard. Jen ensures quality work is performed in the field and internally, to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. Jen has demonstrated the ability to deliver consistent results in order audit and order management.  She will build upon these strengths in order to deliver this level of excellence in both REO and property preservation operations.

Jen joined Safeguard in 1997 and was promoted to director of inspections operations in 2009 and assistant vice president of inspections operations in 2012.

She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in business.


AVP, Finance

Jennifer Anspach

Jennifer Anspach is the assistant vice president of finance for Safeguard. She is responsible for the company’s national workforce of approximately 1,000 employees. She manages recruitment strategies, employee relations, training, personnel policies, retention, payroll and benefits programs. Additionally, Jennifer has oversight of the accounts receivable and loss functions formerly within the accounting department.

Jennifer joined the company in April 2009 as a manager of accounting and finance and a year later was promoted to director. She was named AVP of human capital in 2014. Prior to joining Safeguard, she held several management positions at OfficeMax and InkStop in both operations and finance.

Jennifer is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She was named a Crain’s Cleveland Business Archer Award finalist for HR Executive of the Year in 2017.


AVP, Application Architecture

Rick Moran

Rick Moran is the assistant vice president of application architecture for Safeguard. Rick is responsible for evolving the Safeguard IT systems. He leads the design of Safeguard’s enterprise application architecture. This includes Safeguard’s real-time integration with other systems, vendors and clients; the future upgrade roadmap for systems; and standards designed to meet availability, security, performance and goals.

Rick has been with Safeguard since 2011. During that time, he has led the system upgrades necessary to support Safeguard’s growth. In addition, Rick’s team has designed and implemented several innovative systems.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Rick was director of enterprise architecture at Revol Wireless, a privately held CDMA Wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana, and operated his own consulting firm providing services to the manufacturing, telecommunications, and energy sectors.


AVP, Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Services

Steve Machovina

Steve Machovina is the assistant vice president of technology infrastructure and cloud services for Safeguard. He is responsible for the overall management and design of Safeguard’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. He manages all technology engineering staff who support data centers, telecommunications, network, servers, storage, service monitoring, and disaster recovery.

Steve joined Safeguard in November 2013 as director of information technology operations.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was vice president of information technology at Revol Wireless, a privately held wireless provider in Ohio and Indiana. He also held management positions with Northcoast PCS and Corecomm Communications, and spent nine years as a Coast Guard officer and pilot.

Steve holds a BBA in management information systems from Kent State University in Ohio and an MBA from Wayne State University in Michigan.


Assistant Vice president of Application Development

Steve Goberish

Steve Goberish, is the assistant vice president of application development for Safeguard. He is responsible for the maintenance and evolution of Safeguard’s vendor systems ensuring high-availability, security and scalability while advancing the vendor products’ capabilities and enhancing the vendor experience.

Prior to joining Safeguard, Steve was a senior technical architect and development manager at First American Title Insurance, a publicly held title insurance provider based in southern California, in addition to managing and developing applications in multiple sectors from insurance to VOIP.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio.