Maryland Mulls Plan to Track Abandoned Homes


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Editor’s Note: There is something bizarre about a process that has “lenders” foreclosing on properties only to abandon them and create further blight, giving the remaining homeowner even less reason to continue paying on their mortgages — or even to maintain them. Yet that is exactly what is happening. It is also bizarre that we have allowed this process to create a whole new class of homeless people while we have — by ALL accounts — too many vacant homes.
That’s what happens when you let Banks set national, state and local policy. The Occupiers are right — we must break the control of our government from the grasp of the mega Banks. And those in government who actually seek to do the right thing must open their minds to the possibility that breaking the big banks will NOT cause a disaster, it will cause relief.
Maryland mulls foreclosure property registry

A group of Maryland officials says the state should create a foreclosure registry that would allow local governments to track the condition of real-estate owned properties.

The Maryland Foreclosure Task Force said these municipalities often don’t know whom to contact about foreclosed properties, with their drag on surrounding neighborhoods a particular concern.

The proposed online portal would remain private from the general public, the group said, aside from requests for information by neighbors.

Gov. Martin O’Malley formed the foreclosure task force in August 2011, and appointed government, legal and real estate officials to the group.

The task force released its recommendations in a report Jan. 11. Legislation has not yet been introduced, though group members testified Wednesday at a House Environmental Matters Committee.

The statewide registry would likely be the first of its kind, said Michael Halpern, director of community initiatives for Safeguard Properties. He said the company is aware of about 700 registry ordinances nationwide, and the lack of uniformity creates headaches.

“They’re all doing it independently, and they all have their own forms and their own timeframes and their own fee structures,” Halpern said. “Having 50 state registries definitely is preferable to having hundreds if not thousands of local city registries.”

The foreclosure registry would require contact info for the foreclosure buyer and a property manager, as well as whether the home is occupied or vacant. The buyer or agent would update the entry once the deed is filed.

The task force said any registry should also require an initial fee, though members did not reach a consensus on the issue. The fee would likely cover costs of development and upkeep of the registry, though some members want higher fees to go toward code-related property maintenance.

Any registry should also include a function to map foreclosed properties, the task force said.

The group also said Maryland should allow local governments to enact tax credit incentives for the purchase of foreclosed properties.

At least two other states have or are considering standardization of registries. A Connecticut law, which went into effect Oct. 1, requires registration with a town clerk at the start of a foreclosure, as well as a $100 fee.

In Georgia, a bill would create uniform rules for foreclosure registries created by local governments, including a $175 limit on registration fees. The state House passed the bill, and the Senate sent it back to committee Jan. 11.

Maryland saw foreclosure actions on 3,251 homes in the third quarter 2011, declines of 27.9% from the second quarter and 76.9% from a year earlier according to RealtyTrac. Those actions include notices of default or foreclosure sale, as well as new REO properties.

Write to Andrew Scoggin.

Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.


23 Responses

  1. And how interesting it is that a ReMax real estate agent in Santa Clarita, CA moves into a foreclosed mini-mansion and lives rent-free! I’m sure that’s not the only one either. Look at all of the properties listed as “not currently for sale” most are Wells Fargo deals.

  2. “would remain private”? No! No more ‘private registries”. Lord knows what this seemingly innocuous private registry could lead to. Just because we can’t call to mind how it may bite us doesn’t mean it won’t. I find it odd they want it private in the first place.

  3. “We will not consider a self-inflicted harm to be irreparable….” And “If the harm complained of is self-inflicted, it does not qualify as irreparable.”
    That is a double-edged sword. Unfortunately, the judges are only seeing one side.

  4. Well, “they” were successful in selling my property based on a fraudulent, fabricated and forged Deed Of Trust, which ultimately claims that the “investor” of a securitized trust is somehow the creditor/lender/beneficiary/owner…outright lies, yet they get away with it all day long…but—the third party real estate agent who bought it presumably made his check out to a debt collector: One West Bank, FSB. NOT some “securities investor”…

  5. Its a matter of being very proactive and well informed, the things I do has helped many people nationwide. Neil has a lot of information you can pay him to get and you should. I am coming to southern CA next week to help a group of lawyers find evidence for their clients cases.

  6. @mario kenny

    Do you think the tactics you having been using would have worked in non-judicial CA? Just curious to know exactly what you did to stay there 5 years…don’t think it would have worked in CA.

  7. Atta’ boy Mario. You rule!

  8. In early 2007 I began to ask myself, if I was the only person who could not make the payments on time, I had been making sufficient income until this time. The guilt of not being able to pay began to scar my way of thinking to a point where I became depressed. Neil began this blog just about then and one of the first issues was the disease of financial morality. Donald Trump was in litigation with Deutsche Bank over large amounts of loans he took out to build his resorts.

    It was Trump who led the way for me to decide how to deal with the plaguing issue of financial morality. I became satisfied to be a squatter in my own home of 15yrs.

    I began to tell people to squat homes or their homes, the word squat as I stated it in many blogs was met with many blistering rebuttals from so many people and I was insulted by many for not paying my debt note.

    I simply decided to not pay any of the current accounts I had, like the credit cards and other revolving debts, I simply refused to pay, I felt that I was robbed for too long and that I had paid these credit cards much more than I borrowed.

    There were no lawyers at the time who knew how to deal these cases, none, many months I would communicate with Neil to ask him to help me to find a lawyer in my district to help me to fight for my home, I knew deep down in me I stood a fighting chance to stay in my home, I needed so badly to save the home for the good of the education of my offspring, their schools were in my district, and we had a solid plan for a great education to get the rid of the cycle of poverty in which .we lived, many nights I would be so very despondent to the point of I considered ending my life, but I would see the Innocent faces of my children in my dreams I would weep in silence. I would hide from my family while I suffered to find a solution for the problem of my home.

    I could not refinance nor sell, the value dropped and the credit was tarnished, I could see no clear way out. Neil was the nicest man to me, he told me he would help me to find a lawyer for my case, and he did, needless to say this lawyer did nothing for my case, but she did take my hard work and the money it brought her. I did believe every word she said as I needed to control my future and to keep my home.

    Many years had passed I managed by luck to stay in my home for the things I did for myself from information I would read about on this blog and anywhere else, most lawyers would laugh at this blog, I would take fliers of Neil`s rants to all the lawyers in my area, most simply insulted me.

    Well 5 yrs have passed hence to the day and guess what? I am in my home, I thank Neil so much and I always have, he indirectly laid down the basic education in me and instilled in my the manner in which I began my fight.

    I began to work for a lawyer in Florida, one of the best ones, I forged a personal relation with this lawyer and he really did provide me the chance to fight, my title is clouded to date and I am as confused as ever, but I know that the bankster will not get my home anytime soon, if ever.

    So, the possibilities are endless and squatting is now called Occupation, a bit of a better word, now the Occupiers do not squat, they simply take the house, I now support Occupy Oakland, I fly from Florida to California often to march and teach how to Occupy homes and buildings.

    good luck to you all, work hard day and night, there is a way out I attest.

  9. Do you still have those construction boots? You know, those ass-kicking ones?

  10. Please consider signing the change dot org petition to rescind a parallel foreclosure on a family that was following all the government mandated mortgage help rules, yet Wells Fargo foreclosed and resold the home anyways.

    I signed but did not use my real address or zip code. I did post my real name, state, metropolitan city and email. I figured that was enough info. They are up to 391 signatures, which is ok, but not nearly enough to make a dent.

  11. Enough mulling. Let’s all sign the petition begging Obama to order investigations and prosecutions of banksters.

  12. Maryland is all too willing to put liens on homes that have no mortgage for being behind on a water bill. The water bill gets paid by a third party, and Maryland happily hands over the keys to the home to the water bill payer.

    Lets not forget that it is not the actual water bill that does the homeowner in, but the penalties and fees that get mercilessly tacked on while they cannot work because they are care taking for a sick family member.

  13. @enraged, I noticed the other day that a nearby contractor is obviously out of work, as his truck is growing moss. I had previously explained to this same contractor that the house he bought out of foreclosure for $650K a few years back was sure to be with clouded title. He got extremely angry at the bearer of this news, as spit was flying from his face as he challenged my contention at full volume. Ooops. Don’t soak the messenger.

    So this other friend chastised me for saying I was glad this contractor was out of work. I’m not for one minute glad that anyone will suffer, it’s just that until the masses awaken, it will take ages to very slowly grind on towards Worse Enough. Things are bad but they need to get Too Bad. And the result will be a Great Reckoning sooner, not later.

    Only then will pitchforks effect change. A few well place skewerings will probably suffice. Pokem’ in the rear.

  14. @E. Toile,

    Why haven’t more people closed their bank accounts and stopped paying any of their loans, pending complete reorganization of this country on quick sand?

    They’re not yet in enough pain to make moving their butt and taking action worth their while. Well, a few of us are acting. I’d like to believe that, since the economy cannot sustain itself in the condition it is in, eventually, the whole system will completely collapse. Those of us who took action early on might very well come out on top (that’s the idea, right?) Those who didn’t… well, it’s not that they didn’t know. The information is out there.

    So, helping others? Sure! Doing for them what they ought to do for themselves? Hell no!

  15. […] Filed under: bubble, CDO, CORRUPTION, currency, Eviction, foreclosure, GTC | Honor, Investor, Mortgage, securities fraud Tagged: bankruptcy, borrower, countrywide, disclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure defense, foreclosure offense, foreclosures, fraud, LOAN MODIFICATION, modification, quiet title, rescission, RESPA, securitization, TILA audit, trustee, WEISBAND Livinglies’s Weblog […]

  16. Be aware people, the destruction of rights and the law has been seen time and time again throughout history….it just keeps repeating itself like an old phonograph record playing over and over again.

    Slaves in Dixieland were “allowed” social functions similar to those of ancient Rome, even extending to the assignment of positions in skilled craftsmanship, concubinage and domestic management. We are also being setup to perform these same functions prescribed for chattel only. We are the underlying functionaries to their wealth creation system, nothing more. We’re the cotton pickers, only they will afford the finished products.

    When the laws are suddenly and overwhelmingly in favor of the elite, against the masses, they’re making their end run. Labor’s demise, the nationally organized crush of OWS, global austerity, the transfer of our wealth by the Fed, the increase in ease of arrests, the threat of death without warrant, clownish candidates, these all point to their summation. And if things get too wonky, they will, like NPV said, simply create a new war which will take all of our energies as well as our lives fighting for them. Another Great Distraction, albeit deadly and heinous. We matter not.

    Freedom is an easily erodible commodity to them, and frittered away by us while we’re distracted. Take MERS for example. Suddenly you and I were partnered with this corporation that we’d never heard of, whose placement in our legal documents was never told to us, with ramifications never explained, no alternative allowed, monopolized, whose entry into our legal system was force placed without a single hearing or vote. Just like the bailouts that cost us trillions. All orchestrated by the collusion of the central banksters and their paid representatives in Congress.

    Our Reduction

    MERS’s counsel has represented time and time again that MERS was developed in reaction to the savings and loan crisis. Seriously? I’d love to hear Professor Black’s take on that. Trusting TPTB’s claims of assistance in yet another bubble they orchestrated is like another call for a round of hemlock beverages on the house. Read on chattel, read what MERS has to say about your rights concerning recordation submitted in a Supreme Court brief:

    “Since the mortgagor already knows there is a lien and has in fact expressly granted this interest to the mortgagee, the notice provided under the Recording Act is not for the mortgagor’s benefit. Nor is the Recording Act, as Plaintiffs see it, a consumer disclosure statute. Indeed, the party least considered by the recording statutes is the debtor; recording of the mortgage is for the benefit of the lender – not the borrower.”

    Whatever happened to the concept of public interest? We no longer have the right to notice who is doing what with our loans…. yet another age old [civil war era] right stripped away. Why? Our notice serves no purpose to them.

    Our Removal

    When faced with foreclosures future and past and wanting time to figure out their possible defenses, a group of homeowners came together to get a handle on their situation and spread the legal fees, with the goal of getting restraining orders to give them time for counsel. That seems like a logical, caring act for community minded citizens, right? Strength in numbers. Well, maybe not. The court concluded:

    “Plaintiffs maintain that they face a threat of irreparable harm in the absence of a temporary restraining order. According to Plaintiffs, those whose houses have not yet been sold at a mortgage foreclosure sale face irreparable harm because a mortgage foreclosure sale extinguishes the mortgage, and those whose houses have already been sold at a mortgage foreclosure sale face irreparable harm from the approaching expiration of their redemption periods.

    So far so good. But the court concluded:

    Although Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they face a threat of
    irreparable harm and that the balance of harms favors them, the likelihood of Plaintiffs’ success on the merits, the most significant factor, is too slight to justify Plaintiffs’ requested relief.

    Nipped in the bud. And of course the corporation MERS saw it 100% differently from the citizens present, interpreting for the court’s sake here:

    “MERS contends that Plaintiffs have not demonstrated a threat of irreparable harm because Plaintiffs face foreclosure only because they did not pay their loans.” They go on to quote lower court cases that say, “We will not consider a self-inflicted harm to be irreparable….” And “If the harm complained of is self-inflicted, it does not qualify as irreparable.”

    Glaringly absent from these conclusions is any mention of the atrocities associated with lending gone wild, or with how TPTB game the system with the total opacity surrounding the agreements we sign, knowing full well that our naïveté would lead [still leads] us to an easy slaughter. From Fordham Law’s TURNING A BLIND EYE: WALL STREET FINANCE OF PREDATORY LENDING, from 2007:

    At first blush, securitization’s lack of concern about subprime
    underwriting seems odd. After all, investors in mortgage-backed securities should be concerned about the heightened default risk of subprime loans and predatory loans in particular. Furthermore, they should be concerned that subprime lenders will try to pass off their worst loans through securitization.

    Given investors’ concerns, one might expect the capital markets to screen out the riskiest, predatory loans from securitized subprime loan pools. There is growing evidence, however, that securitizing entities perform inadequate screening. When meaningful screening does occur, it focuses on loans originated in states that impose liability on assignees of predatory loans. In states with weak anti-predatory lending laws, screening is minimal or nonexistent.

    Securitization pulls away the curtain and shows us the capture of our system very plainly and in our faces. But keep this in mind…. it only operates because we allow it.

    We – Are – Host ~ They – Are – Parasite

    We can kill them and remove them by not voting for any of them. None. By not paying any of our loans that were securitized. By alerting our Attorney’s General and reps that they too will find themselves on food support and out of work soon, and will be shunned in the community for their behavior against the people and for the banksters. It’s time to stop being bullied.

    This is war folks. Act like it.

  17. This is a very significant development. Ultimately if ownership of a property is constructively or agreed abandoned by the owner–title escheats to the state.

    Maryland could plug a budget hole by adding a vacancy period on REO such that the property MUST escheat to the state which could then sell the vacant properties–or cede them to local community development agencies–where sales could fund repairs and more sales.
    Title defects from foreclosure defects cured by statutory command via this process.

    Also—the state AG could undertake reviews of the collection agencies–to determine if the property was seized by right or by deception–did trust investors receive anaccounting—-did the proper party seize–if not then default by escheat–legislature can cure these ills.

  18. The SPV can’t get the insurance money on many cases until the foreclosure is completed. The Servicer enters credit bid, forecloses and than does not file the new deed, so as to avoid registries and paying taxes insurance and upkeep until the REO is conveyed out for the next huge profit.

    @ enraged – we used to call this type action a scheme – now they are having us believe it is a process, that certainly is not [due].

  19. More government useless information gathering
    Interesting that the info will be kept “private.”

  20. And now, for the kicker…

    Goldman Sachs’ profits have fallen by 58% since last January. Good news, right?

    Well… it would appear that bonuses are still flying, albeit “smaller”. Disgruntled employees are crying over it. I have it in good authority that… it is called a BLOODBATH! Talk about a sweeping statement!

    Ain’t that a great country or what?

  21. Why not use whatever resources they would invest in this bullshit tracking system into making sure there are no foreclosures in the first place? I agree with Mario–Occupy!

  22. We need to Occupy the foreclosed homes, I believe that this can be done legally, I also believe that this is a way to stop the banks from foreclosing more homes. I had hoped that would be a political solution to foreclosure, but none has occured, so Occuping the homes is the single best way to stop the banks is to take the homes over by occuping them.

  23. “There is something bizarre about a process that has “lenders” foreclosing on properties only to abandon them and create further blight, giving the remaining homeowner even less reason to continue paying on their mortgages — or even to maintain them.”

    You’ve noticed too, huh?

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