Buffalo, New York, is proposing a way to require banks to take responsibility for abandoned homes and partial foreclosures. Many are hoping that this requirement would help to keep up neighborhoods that would otherwise decline as homes are abandoned.
"Through a Housing Court ruling last week and proposed city legislation, Buffalo is demanding that banks start taking responsibility for maintaining homes that are left vacant and derelict when lenders initiate foreclosure but don't follow through to the end."
"The effort is being applauded by housing and neighborhood advocates, who otherwise watch helplessly as neighborhoods decline, inspectors write up housing code violations in vain, and homes are demolished or ignored."
"'It is setting a precedent, especially in New York State,' said Michele Johnson, an East Side housing activist and Housing Court liaison. 'Banks have been notorious in walking away from these properties. It will make them less likely to let the property sit and rot knowing that we're going to go after them.'"
"There are an estimated 39,000 vacant homes throughout the region, with nearly half considered to be abandoned; about 20,000 of them are in Buffalo, which has a 17 percent vacancy rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau."