‘Zombie’ Homes Haunt Florida Neighborhoods
Aborted foreclosures leave thousands of properties in legal limbo
When homeowners and banks walk away from a property, the city is left with the responsibility for the home. Sometimes it wants to fix it up and sell, sometimes it wants to tear it down. But St. Petersburg doesn’t have the resources to deal with all the vacant homes.
“From my perspective if you’re foreclosing on a property you ought to take some responsibility for those properties,” Dove said.
He’s working on mapping all the vacant properties by lender and detailing their condition. He hopes to bring the information to the banks and ask them to “step up and take responsibility.”
He said Wells Fargo is the lender with the most abandoned homes in his city, with about 600 properties in foreclosure and about 84 are empty, according to data from the city and from RealtyTrac. The company made $5.7 billion in profit in the second quarter of this year.
Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda said the company is the largest mortgage servicer in the country so it has more homes in foreclosure than its competitors in many cities. Wells maintains vacant properties that are in foreclosure proceedings even before it takes title. He said the company mows lawns, removes debris, winterizes the home and ensures they are secure.
“We work hard to maintain foreclosure properties in a manner that is a benefit to the community until the home is sold,” he said.
Full report here…