WI Legislation to Address Foreclosures and Vacant Properties
On December 5, the office of Wisconsin State Representative Evan Goyke released an update titled Rep. Goyke Releases Legislation to Address Home Foreclosures and Vacant Properties.
Rep. Goyke Releases Legislation to Address Home Foreclosures and Vacant Properties
MADISON – State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) released today five legislative proposals to address the ongoing foreclosure crisis and vacant properties affecting neighborhoods in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin:
“Many neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and throughout Wisconsin, have been devastated by the national foreclosure crisis. While new foreclosure filings are down, empty homes remain. In the 18th Assembly District, and 6th Senate District, too many homes sit vacant with windows boarded up. For many homes and neighborhoods this has lasted months, and for some, multiple years,” Rep. Goyke stated.
“Vacant homes affect the condition and morale of neighborhoods, while also serving as yet another hurdle for hardworking Wisconsinites to overcome. Unfortunately, the budgets of municipal governments are often stretched too thin to serve these properties and the burden of empty, abandoned homes is placed on our neighbors and neighborhoods.”
The legislation is currently being circulated for co-sponsorship in the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate with a deadline for co-sponsorship of December 27, 2013.
A summary of each piece of legislation is below:
1.) Realtor Incentive Bill (LRB-3010) – This bill seeks to create an incentive for realtors to sell properties that have a foreclosure judgment and a sale value of less than $50,000. It is our hope that this incentive will attract realtors to invest more time and energy in the foreclosed home markets and neighborhoods. The bill would remove income tax reporting requirements for the commission income made by a realtor working as the agent for either the buyer or seller of the property.
2.) Demolition Bond Bill (LRB-2431) – This bill is designed to ensure that municipalities do not bear the financial burden of demolition of a property when the lender initiates a foreclosure action. The bill would require, as a matter of civil procedure at the time of filing a foreclosure action, that the plaintiff in the matter post a demolition bond of $15,000. The bond will be held by the clerk of courts for the county in which the foreclosure action is filed. In the event that the property is neglected, deteriorates, and becomes a blighted property in need of demolition, the $15,000 demolition bond will be applied for the cost of demolition. In the event that the property is no longer owned by the plaintiff in the foreclosure action, the demolition bond shall be returned to the plaintiff. Similarly, in the event that the foreclosure action is dismissed, the demolition bond shall be returned to the plaintiff.
3.) Security Lighting Bill (LRB-2774) – Under current law, mortgagees may file a foreclosure action against a borrower when the borrower meets certain criteria regarding non-payment. The plaintiff mortgagee in the lawsuit must pay a filing fee with the appropriate county clerk of courts to initiate the lawsuit. In general, these fees are used to pay the operational costs of the court. Under this bill, the filing fee for each foreclosure action is increased by $50.00 with the additional filing fee being routed by the county clerk of courts to the designated department for installation of lighting on existing abandoned homes. The lighting that shall be used shall generate and regenerate its own power through solar energy (as by definition, the existing foreclosed homes do not have electricity running to them). The lighting will help deter theft and vandalism to abandoned properties.
4.) HOME GR/OWN Bill (LRB-2368) – Earlier this year, the City of Milwaukee was a finalist in Former Mayor Bloomberg’s Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, which was a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Milwaukee became one of the top finalists based on the City’s innovative idea to transform foreclosed properties into community assets that improve public health and spark economic opportunity. Unfortunately, Milwaukee was not chosen as one of the recipients of the reward, but we feel this should not deter Wisconsin from pursuing the goals of the challenge.
Recently, Governor Walker pledged $2 million in state funding from DFI to help Milwaukee improve its neighborhoods and deal with vacant homes. This money is solely for demolition with no plan or resources for the empty land that remains. We applaud this commitment. This bill would allocate a $2 million match from the legislature to the Governor’s pledge. This match would go to supporting Milwaukee’s HOME GR/OWN program, which is designed to create productive uses of vacant lots/lands.
5.) Property Stabilization Bill (LRB-3431) – Current law does not allow municipalities or lending institutions the authority to enter into a property that is subject to a foreclosure action. When the property is abandoned, this may lead to deterioration of the property, which greatly decreases the property’s resale value and places additional burdens on local property tax payers. This bill seeks to extend authority to a municipality or lending institution to enter the foreclosed property and address any possible problems within the property, such as winterizing the plumbing. This bill also seeks to extend civil immunity to agents of either the municipality or lending institution engaged in the rehabilitation or repair of the property, so far as the agent is acting in his or her official capacity in carrying out actions allowable under this bill.
Please click here to view the official release.
Safeguard Properties is the largest mortgage field services company in the U.S. Founded in 1990 by Robert Klein and based in Valley View, Ohio, the company inspects and maintains defaulted and foreclosed properties for mortgage servicers, lenders, and other financial institutions. Safeguard employs approximately 1,700 people, in addition to a network of thousands of contractors nationally. Website: www.safeguardproperties.com.