One of the many fallouts from the nationwide mortgage crisis in St. Petersburg has been abandoned and foreclosed properties that become eyesores throughout the community.
On Thursday, city council will hold a public hearing about creating a foreclosure registry in St. Petersburg that would help the city keep track of foreclosed properties before they become blighted and neighborhood sore spots.
According to city documents , the registry would require, "all mortgages, including lenders trustees, and service companies to register property that has been foreclosed upon or (is) the subject of a foreclosure actions or proceedings; and regulating the maintenance of property that has been foreclosed upon and are owned by the foreclosing entity."
Each register would be good for one year at a proposed cost of $125.
Without notice, properties can quickly spiral into a problem for St. Pete residents. According to the city, if it declares the property a public nuisance it has a better chance to maintain the property.
"Property that is not properly maintained is unsightly, unsafe and has a negative impact on the community ... property that has been foreclosed upon or is the subject of foreclosure actions or proceedings and is not properly maintained is a public nuisance, the abatement of which, pursuant to the city police power, is herby declared to be necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the city of the city of St. Petersburg."
Council member Karl Nurse has been a strong advocate for creating the registry. He spoke about the benefits of creating one at January CONA and codes focus group meetings.
"There are a fair number of properties where the owners have walked away and if we don’t take some proactive action, you could have another three to five years of this property in the never never land," Nurse said back in January.
"It’s an enormous waste of time," Nurse said of the current process dealing with foreclosed properties and abandoned homes. "In a time when we are not going to have more staff, we don’t want to waste it on nonproductive work."
The registry also aims to hold someone accountable even if the property owner has walked away. According to the proposed ordinance, "if at any time during the pendency of the foreclosure action, the owner vacate the property, or the property is not occupied by the owner at the time of commencement of the foreclosure action, the mortgagee shall designate a local individual or local property management company as the local agent responsible for the security and maintenance of the property."