MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, and Policy Associate, Kevin Kinnally, testified in favor of legislation (HB 1048 & SB 875) which would enable the state and local governments to recieve notification about properties entering the foreclosure process.
While the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) currently maintains a foreclosed property registry, the information is limited to after a foreclosure sale. These bills would require DLLR to recieve notice about a property much earlier in the process, at the order to docket or complaint to foreclose stage. Counties would then be able to access this information.
According to MACo’s testimony, if local jurisdictions had information of properties entering the foreclosure process they could
provide the information to neighboring property owners, condominium associations, and homeowner associations. It provides a means for state and local officials to have information about properties at a stage in the process that allows for early intervention.
This bill could prove very helpful to county governments seeking to better manage properties in transition. Government officials would be in the best position for taking action to help homeowners. This information can help facilitate code enforcement, property maintenance, nuisance abatement, law enforcement, and emergency and social support services. Residents sometimes vacate and abandon properties during the foreclosure process and those properties could become nuisance and safety challenges. HB 1048 would allow county officials to be aware of such properties as they transition through the foreclosure process.
Both bills were heard on February 28, 2017. HB 1048 was heard by the House Environment & Transportation committee and SB 875 was heard by the Senate’s Judiciary Proceedings committee.