Seminole County to force banks to register foreclosed homes

Article Courtesy of Bay News 9

By Jeff Allen

Published December 17, 2014


SANFORD -- Pauline Jones said she’s lived in her home just outside Sanford all of her life, and she has proudly kept it in good shape for decades. But some homes in her neighborhood are not in such good shape.

“It’s an eyesore for the neighborhood. It makes the neighborhood go down. And then you have homeless people that stay in them, break into them and drugs,” said Jones.

But Seminole County leaders hope to fight that problem. Seminole County commissioners passed a new ordinance that will now require banks to register all foreclosed homes with the county so that officials can easily get in touch with someone when foreclosed properties get run down. 

“You want to go to somebody who is responsible for the property, who has an interest in maintaining the property. And of course if a lender has a loan in default, it’s in the lender’s best interest to go ahead and maintain the property,” said Seminole County District 2 Commissioner John Horan.

The City of Sanford has registered foreclosed properties since 2009. Jones’ neighborhood is often considered part of the city, but it’s technically in the unincorporated part of Seminole County. County officials will now be able to keep track of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods like hers.

The new ordinance will charge banks a $200 fee – per property – per year for every foreclosed house that needs to be registered. Banks who own properties that aren’t registered and become in violation of the ordinance will be fined $100 a day for five days. Then there will be a $200 a day fine every day after that until the property is registered and satisfies code requirements.

“That’s a good thing. The banks should be made to take care of their property. The county makes us pay to keep our property up to standard so everybody got to pay,” said Jones.

The ordinance goes into effect at January 1 and banks will have one month to get foreclosed properties inspected and registered.