Bremerton, WA Cracks Down on Foreclosed Abandoned Buildings
The city council of Bremerton WA has unanimously passed a local ordinance to crack down on abandoned foreclosed buildings. This new law is the first of its kind. Let’s hope it sparks a nationwide trend.
Beginning August 1st, the owner of an abandoned residential or commercial property will be required to register the property with the city of Bremerton. The owner will be responsible for checking the property once a month for tall grass, unlocked doors, broken windows, graffiti and any other nuisance that can blight a neighborhood.
Since most if not all of these abandoned properties are in foreclosure, the owner is most likely to be a bank which may or may not have a branch nearby. (This ordinance does NOT apply to landlords who don’t currently have a tenant, or owners who live on a property but are out of town for long periods of time.)
Bremerton’s community development director described the urban blight that results from too many abandoned buildings:
“You’ve got basically shells of buildings in the middle of neighborhoods. These things are bad for everybody.”
As the linked article says:
“That deterioration is accelerated when squatters invade, bringing trash and crime. The result is a less safe neighborhood, a diminished sense of community and lower property values.”
Failure to register a property, or allowing the property to deteriorate, could result in a fine of $1,000 and a $100-a-day penalty until the violation is corrected.
It’s about time banks and foreclosure mills started taking responsibility for the properties they confiscate. It’s not enough to just say “OK, we’ve kicked them out of their home. Our work here is done.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the banking industry reacts to this ordinance, especially if laws like this start spreading like wildfire. We might start seeing some new Astroturf groups staging choreographed “demonstrations” on behalf of the foreclosure mills’ property rights.
Or maybe the banks will order their congressional prostitutes to pass a federal law banning this type of local ordinance. We’ll see…