Experts Converge to Provide County Land Bank Training
Greater Ohio Policy Center, in partnership with the newly formed Center for Community Progress, whose goal is to create vibrant communities through reuse of vacant, abandoned properties with offices in both Washington, D.C. and Flint, Michigan, hosted an interactive training session for select counties on Ohio’s current land bank law, which was recently expanded to an additional 41 counties.
Over 60 representatives from 11 counties participated in the daylong event with presentations by Greater Ohio’s Lavea Brachman, the Center for Community Progress’s Dan Kildee and Amy Hovey, as well as Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation
Greater Ohio, a key figure in the legislation that enabled additional counties to access this important tool, provided specific information on Ohio’s legislation that addresses county land banks. From Dan Kildee, former Genesse County Treasurer, participants learned about the basic concepts behind a county land bank and how the entity is financially structured. Amy Hovey, a former consultant to the Genesse County Land Bank and integral in its development, discussed various land bank models throughout Michigan and the country to show how this important tool could be customized to meet the needs of individual counties. Finally, Gus Frangos provided first-hand knowledge on how to set up a county land bank in Ohio as well as provided practical advice on the trigger points for different operation and policy decisions and the pitfalls to avoid.
Greater Ohio hopes to continue to edcuate counties on this powerful tool to address the foreclosure and vacant property crisis plaguing our communties, so continue to check our website for additional trainings.
Ohio Foreclosure Legislation Stalled
Despite statistics from the Ohio Supreme Court showing that foreclosure filings in Ohio have experienced an annual increase for the past 14 consecutive years andmore than 24,700 foreclosure filings occurred in the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 9 percent over the same time period last year, the Ohio Senate has decided to postpone until after the Summer break consideration of several key pieces of legislation designed to protect homeowners and renters in the event of a foreclosure.
Three specific pieces of legislation have passed the Ohio House, but have all stalled in the Ohio Senate, that would help address concerns that Greater Ohio and others have expressed with various parts of the foreclosure process. House Bill 3 would regulate mortgage servicers and charge a filing fee, the proceeds of which would return to communities to fund prevention counseling and foreclosure mitigation programs. House Bill 9 would require landlords to notfiy current and potential tenants if a property is or will soon be in foreclosure. The final bill, House Bill 323, would limit the amount of time that properties are vacant and deteriorating by requiring that the mortgage holder file for default judgment in a foreclosure proceeding within a set period of time or risk a court ruling that they abandoned their interest in the property. It also establishes penalties to discourage homeowners from vandalizing their foreclosed property.
We encourage you to contact your local representatives of the General Assembly, particularly your Ohio Senate members, throughout the summer and ask them to research these important bills and also urge the Ohio Senate in particular to take action on the legislation when they return in the fall. Unfortunately as statistics such as the ones from the Ohio Supreme Court show, Ohio’s foreclosure problem is getting worse not better and the time for reform is now.