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Foreclosure Registry: Is it Needed in Gulfport?

Gulfport City Council members will discuss creating a foreclosure registry at a future workshop. What do you think of the idea?

Abandoned and foreclosed homes have become an eyesore in neighborhoods across the county. Gulfport is no exception, that's why city leaders are looking into creating a registry for foreclosed homes. During Tuesday night's regular council meeting Councilor Barbara Banno asked City Manager Jim O'Reilly to add the issue in a future workshop.

"I think it could really benefit the city to help keep track of the foreclosure houses," Banno said.

Banno said tracking the properties could help in the following ways; the city can help keep the properties clean, police can monitor the homes for squatters and keep neighborhoods safe.

Banno said one setback is the lag time from when a home is abandoned and actually listed as a foreclosed home.

"When they become bank owned, they get turned over to a property management. So, the property management group would have to register with the city.

If we can get to that point, we’re still in a better position than we are today,” Banno said.

Banno and Councilor Jennifer Salmon brought up the issue prior to Tuesday night's meeting, but Banno brought it up again because St. Petersburg is moving forward with creating a registry. They're holding a public hearing today.

According St. Petersburg 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.

Gulfport City Manager Jim O'Reilly says he hasn't had a chance to look into the registry just yet. O'Reilly also did not have a number of abandoned and foreclosed homes in Gulfport, but did say that maintenance costs this past year increased by $20,000 for services related to abandoned homes. That includes services like boarding up homes and cutting grass.

"The cost has increased for abate code violations," O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly says we recieved a lot of rain and as a result grass growing on abandoned properties has grown even faster this year. Officials document the issue as a code violation and the fees are placed as a lien on the property.

"We don't recoup the costs immediately," O'Reilly said.

City council members will discuss the registry at a future workshop.

Related Articles:

Are You Concerned About Abandoned Homes in Gulfport?

Juju Stevens September 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I think that this would be an incredible idea. We have homes behind us that we can't tell whether they are abandoned again. They're occupied for a while, then empty, then a hazard, then occupied. If we knew for sure that they were in foreclosure, we'd keep a "different" eye on them. Obviously, such a list would also serve as a "free" real estate listing for the mortgage holder and for persons buying up foreclosed homes, so that would need to be thought through, as well.
Charles R. Gallagher III September 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Bad policy and even worse, policy of St. Petersburg that Gulfport is trying to copy.
Bill Church September 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Charles, why is it a bad policy - please explain your position - I think it is a good policy - banks hold properties off the market in an attempt to keep prices up through controlling supply - the registry would give potential buyers more choices and give them the ability to be proactive by approaching banks before the property finally goes on the market
mtober September 21, 2012 at 12:58 AM
This was one of the suggestions Doug Hudson and I made last year in a 64 page document that we presented to City Council.It is a shame that it took St. Pete doing it to get the City Manager and Gulfport Council to move on it rather than doing it proactively one year ago.
a September 22, 2012 at 02:22 PM
How would increasing "viewability" by potential home buyers be a bad thing? Perhaps it would lead to more purchases and less eye sores in the long run.
Rick Boze October 31, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I recently had to come to Gulfport to inspect a house on 15th ave/49th st. and I stayed an additional 5 days and cruised the areas in Gulfport. I did interviews with several neighbors during this process, and 1 informed me there where 280 foreclosures in Gulfport city limits. It was hard to believe but my cruising I discovered he had to be close. Look for empty houses, with most of them with small signs in front windows. But to my surprise the house I bid on had been vacant since 2009. I lost out on the house to others, but I will keep trying. At least most of the houses are being snatched up quickly when offered to the public, it just takes so long for them to actually come on the market. The banks have no reason to list them, if the city just adds a lien to be collected at the sale only. Hold them accountable quicker and watch those houses sale. If I owed the city they would sell my house on the courthouse steps, do it to these lenders and clear the city of these houses.

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