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Banks charged with failing to maintain foreclosed properties

April 15th, 2011 by Joseph William Singer

When banks foreclose on property and then purchase the property at the foreclosure sale, they become the new owners of the property. They would like to resell the property as soon as possible. But in a recession, that is not always possible and when banks retain title to those foreclosed properties, they are subject to local law regulations to maintain the property and ensure that it does not become dilapidated. But many banks have been failing in that regard. They are in the business of financing the sale of property not in managing it. That has prompted the City of Boston to impose more than $80,000 in fines on Wells Fargo & Co and Bank of America for allowing many vacant properties in their possession ‘to fall into disrepair and blight neighborhoods.” Megan Woolhouse, Banks high on list of delinquent property owners, Boston Globe, Apr. 15, 2011.

Bank officials deny they own some of the properties, sometimes on the ground that they are merely the loan servicer or the trustee for securitized mortgages. This illustrates a problem with the securitization process and the practice of not recording the name of the bank that actually “owns” the mortgage. The city is using public records to contact the owner of record; if that institution is not the one who is the real owner, the fault lies not in the city but the failure of the banks to follow the requirements of the state recording laws which are designed to allow public identification of those with property interests in each parcel of real estate in the city.

Posted in Mortgages, Nuisance, Zoning | Comments Off on Banks charged with failing to maintain foreclosed properties

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