Foreclosed Property Registration Rules Set


Homeowners and neighborhood associations in Sarasota which find unattended foreclosed residences in their communities bothersome can find some relief from a new city ordinance which spells out registration requirements for vacated or abandoned properties undergoing foreclosure.

The ordinance creates Section 17-11 of the Code of the City of Sarasota to address the lingering traces of the foreclosure crisis and its adverse effects on communities. The city expedited passage of the measure as officials concluded that abandoned/foreclosed properties, which proliferated during the last housing market bust, are a “public nuisance.”

Sarasota government officials also deemed that the new registration requirements are “necessary for the health, welfare and safety of the residents of City.” Additionally, abandoned or vacant homes are mostly ill-maintained and can potentially drag down property values within their neighborhood or community. The new city ordinance, therefore, can help in beefing up valuations of Sarasota homes for sale erstwhile saddled with unsightly nearby foreclosed properties.

Maintenance obligation on lenders

Foreclosed Property Registration Rules Set

The registration requirements under Section 17-11 are based on the premise that it is the foreclosing banks which are duty-bound in the maintenance and control of properties undergoing a foreclosure process. Previously, many problems arise in locating and identifying the current legal owner of abandoned or vacated properties.

Under the new city code provision, it is the banks or lenders which are mandated to register a vacant or abandoned property, being that they are the party with the greatest, direct financial interest in such properties.

The new registration requirements cover any bank/lender holding a mortgage on any real property in the city which is in default and the bank/lender has issued a default notice, has recorded a lis pendens, or has pursued any other legal action seeking to enforce its right to foreclose or accelerate its interest in the property. Registration is likewise required if the city has put the bank/lender on notice that a real property under foreclosure has been abandoned by its residents.

Local point man as overseer

An annual fee is chargeable to the bank/lender for each foreclosed property registered. The bank/lender must also designate a local agent—based either in Sarasota or Manatee—who will be responsible for inspecting, monitoring, maintaining, and securing the registered property.

Many counties and municipalities in Florida have already adopted programs similar to the registration requirements for lenders foreclosing on properties in the City of Sarasota.
Manatee enacted its own foreclosure registration ordinance in the fall of 2014, as codified in sections 2-9-32 to 2-9-38, Code of Ordinances of Manatee County.

Positive feedback

Since the creation of the Sarasota registration program, close to 600 city properties have been identified as in some stage of the foreclosure process. Abandoned/foreclosed properties registered by the City Code Compliance Department as of May 2015 is nearing the 300 mark. Excellent responses have also been received regarding concerns on property maintenance on the registered foreclosed/abandoned properties and on correcting whatever violations that have been reported.

Meanwhile, foreclosures continue to diminish in the market for Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale. In May 2015, distressed property listings fell to just 8.6% percent of total inventory in Sarasota and only 6.7% in Manatee. These percentages compare with the 20% record slice for the two counties in previous months.