Florida League of Cities 86 th Annual Conference

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1 Presented by: Grant W. Alley, Fort Myers City Attorney Slideshow Compiled by: Susan Martin, Certified Paralegal Florida League of Cities 86 th Annual Conference Abandoned, Foreclosed or Bankrupt Properties: What Can Cities Do?

2 Residential Signage?

3 Come on in, The Water s Green? Unfinished Pool mosquitoes anyone?

4 Grease Trap

5 Sure It s Secure; See the New Locks?

6 Go Ahead, Trespass, You ll Be Sorry

7 Pool Safety Fence You re in good hands with

8 I Hate Filing!!!

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11 Livin the dream

12 honey I ll be in the basement

13 beverly hillbillies

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19 Registration Ordinance The purpose and intent of this article is to establish a process for the registration of real property located within the city to protect neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security of abandoned properties or properties in the process of foreclosure.

20 Registration of Abandoned Property (a) Any mortgagee, who holds a mortgage on any abandoned real property located within the city, shall perform an inspection of the property that is the security for the mortgage. The mortgagee shall, within ten days of the inspection register the property with the director of the community development department, or designee, on forms provided by the city, or other manner as directed. A separate registration is required for each property simultaneous with the filing of a public notice of default, intention to foreclose, or any other action to foreclose on a mortgage, lien or similar instrument that secures debt, upon abandoned real property located in the city. (b) If the property remains in default, it shall be inspected by the mortgagee or the designee monthly and properly maintained until (1) the mortgagor or other party remedies the default, or (2) the foreclosure is concluded. Continued on Next Slide

21 Registration of Abandoned Property (Continued) (c) Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name of the mortgagee, the direct mailing address of the mortgagee, a direct contact name and telephone number of mortgagee's contact, a facsimile number and address and, in the case of a corporation or out-of-area mortgagee, the local property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property. (d) An annual registration fee in the amount of $ per property, shall accompany each registration. (e) Properties subject to this section shall remain under the annual registration requirement, security and maintenance standards of this section until the foreclosure, as defined in this article, is concluded. Continued on Next Slide

22 Registration of Abandoned Property (Continued) (f) Until the mortgage or lien on the property in question is satisfied, or legally discharged, the desire to no longer pursue foreclosure, the filing of a dismissal of lis pendens and/or summary of final judgment and/or certificate of title, voluntary or otherwise, does not exempt any mortgagee, or lien holder who initiated foreclosure proceedings, from all the requirements of this article as long as the borrower is in default. (g) Any person or corporation that has registered a property under this section must report any change of information contained in the registration to the city within ten days of the change. (h) All mortgagees who hold a mortgage on abandoned real property located within the city shall perform an inspection of the property and register it within ten days.

23 Registration of Abandoned Property Maintenance Requirements a) The exteriors of the properties subject to this article shall be kept free of weeds, overgrown brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices, except those required by federal, state, or local law, discarded personal items included, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material, vehicles, vessels and trailers and/or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned. (b) The exteriors of the property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure. (c) Front, side, and rear yard landscaping shall be maintained in accordance with the city standard at the time registration was required. Continued on Next Slide

24 Registration of Abandoned Property Maintenance Requirements (Continued) (d) Landscape shall include, but not be limited to, grass, ground covers, bushes, shrubs, hedges or similar plantings, decorative rock or bark or artificial turf/sod. (e) Maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, watering, cutting, and mowing of required landscape and removal of yard waste. (f) Pools and spas shall be maintained so the water remains free and clear of hazards, pollutants and debris. Pools and spas shall comply with the enclosure requirements of the City Code and Florida Building Code, as amended from time to time. (g) Failure of the mortgagee or property owner of record to properly maintain the property may result in a violation of the City Code and issuance of a citation or notice of violation/notice of hearing by a code enforcement officer. Pursuant to a finding and determination by the code enforcement board, the city may take the necessary abatement action to ensure compliance with this article.

25 SLUM PROPERTY CRITERIA: Abandoned, Vacant, Unsafe Structures Oldest Code Problems First Largest Liens and Non-complied Properties in Daily Fine Status Crime Related High number of calls for service Most Violations (of any type) Multiple Properties in violation Seriousness of Violations

26 A Slum Property Sign is Used ONLY in extreme situations, repeat violation circumstances, or when other methods to encourage compliance have failed

27 Slum Sign Posting

28 City of Fort Myers Slum Property Sign Program Rules & Regulations 1) The Code Enforcement Manager shall determine that a premises is in violation of the City Code; and 2) The owner, after notification of the violation in the manner prescribed in Florida Statute Chapter 162, more than once in a one year period has not corrected the violation(s) 3) The Code Enforcement Manager shall notify the owner at the address on file with the Lee County Property Appraisers Office, by certified mail and conspicuous posting on the premises in violation that: A) The violations must be completely corrected within ten (10) days to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Division; and Continued on Later Slide

29 Rules & Regulations slumming Continued B) If the violations are not corrected within ten (10) days and no alternative time period for correction has been stipulated between the owner and the Code Enforcement Division, the Manager will refer the case to the Code Enforcement Board for review. Upon approval of the Code Enforcement Board, the Manager will cause to be produced a Slum Property sign. The sign will bear the owner s name, address, and telephone number and recite that the owner is in violation of the City Code and chooses not to bring their property into compliance, thereby significantly contributing to the blight in this neighborhood. The sign will be posted securely in the City right-ofway, adjacent or closest to the premises by a member of the Rapid Response Team. Continued on Next Slide

30 Rules & Regulations slumming Continued 4) The sign will be removed promptly by the Rapid Response Team when all violations have been complied. The property owner must request an inspection of the premises by the Code Enforcement Division to verify compliance has been achieved. 5) The above action does not preclude the Manager from simultaneously securing compliance by other lawful means.

31 Slum Property Before After

32 Cap Those Liens Overburden and over encumber troubled properties Fines greater than property is worth Fines are hard to collect and lose to taxes and other improvements to land It is a fictitious number 90% liens are capped at $2, residential $5, $10, commercial Let the market good times roll without a code enforcement lien

33 Demolition Unsafe structure abatement Consent versus force CONSENT IS GOOD Unsafe sheds, accessory structures get removed $50, homes

34 Foreclosure Liens accrue Time to foreclose to change status quo Lots of problems YOU JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE Better have good in house attorneys

35 Knight In Shining Armor Conditional Release vs. lien reversion/suspension Interested buyer with assurances of compliance and improvements Closing takes place with hard costs to the City at closing and a conditional release of lien by the City. Deadline for compliance or lien reinstated

36 Volunteerism What we are seeing is amazing Neighbors protecting themselves Vacant properties mowed, chlorine in pools, free flyers picked up, garbage cleaned up Neighborhood watches

37 Amnesty List of all properties with running fines that have been through the process Notices to all property owners Choose amount (half hard costs) Pay this amount and you get a release of lien Compliant properties only or why not all properties? Free it up help it move changing status quo

38 Hotels for Squatters Vacant House in Neon Lights Avoid no trespass house is vacant invitations Neighborhood watches

39 Code Compliance Before & After Before After

40 Code Compliance Before & After Before After

41 Lot Mows Before After

42 Board-Ups Before After

43 Unsafe Structure Abatement Before After

44 Unsafe Structure Abatement Before After

45 Americorps Volunteers

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