Foreclosure Issues Addressed by City Commissioners


In 2011, according to real estate experts, southwest Florida, particularly the Cape Coral - Fort Myers region was among
the worst hit by the housing crisis. During that time home values dramatically dropped 59.3% . According to a statement released by Corelogic, about 47 percent of the homes in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area are worth less than their mortgages because of the declining values. In the last quarter of 2011, Cape Coral and Fort Myers foreclosures have increased by 35% with no sign of recovery in the coming months.

Just recently, Southwest Florida Real Estate Investment Association released a report that states lenders filed 526 foreclosures in November 2012, which is an 18% drop from the same month one year ago. Jeff Tumbarello, the association’s director said that with these figures and where the economy is going, the feared second wave of foreclosures isn’t likely to occur. Still, there are so many foreclosed homes and these bother many neighborhoods.

In the report of theledger.com, city commissioners want lenders to do a better job of maintaining foreclosed property. The commissioners voted 7-0 to produce a foreclosure registry that would necessitate lenders to pay a fee within 10 days of foreclosing on a property. Although, the fee has not been determined yet, lenders are required to provide their contact information for a property manager who would be able to deal with homes that have deteriorated. People living near foreclosed homes are complaining about unmaintained lawns, muck-filled pools, chipped paint and general disrepair at foreclosed homes.

Commissioner Don Selvage said during Monday's commission meeting, “I don't think there is anybody on this dais who would deny Lakeland has a problem in this area," He added "I don't see an imposition on a bank to simply give us a name." At present, there are no requirements for lenders once a foreclosure notice has been filed. According to Brian Rewis, neighborhood services manager for the city, "This is an attempt to get banks to be responsive," he said. "Without a requirement, all we can do is ask."

Under the new regulation, a lender that doesn't clean up property will be fine and eventually a lien could be placed on its property. According to Rewis, there are approximately 16 percent of the 200 properties facing code violations in the city are in foreclosure. With that said, the new ordinance would help in clearing up the issue on who is responsible in maintaining foreclosed properties.
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