Home Government Brick Council Adds Teeth to Ordinance Requiring Banks to Maintain Foreclosed Homes

Brick Council Adds Teeth to Ordinance Requiring Banks to Maintain Foreclosed Homes

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A foreclosure sign in front of a home. (Credit: Jeff Turner/Flickr)
A foreclosure sign in front of a home. (Credit: Jeff Turner/Flickr)

The Brick Township council this week added some extra teeth to an ordinance requiring banks to maintain foreclosed homes they own before passing it into law.

The ordinance was introduced earlier this month and requires creditors to register properties under foreclosure with the municipal government and properly maintain them. The revision made by the council earlier this week added language that requires banks to make repairs to homes they own within 60 days of receiving a violation notice from the township. As originally written, the ordinance gave the banks at least 30 days to make the repairs but didn’t set an upper maximum time limit before fines could be levied.

The ordinance now requires banks to take a number of actions, including serving the township clerk’s office with a notice indicating that a foreclosure summons and complaint was served against a property owner in town. Within 30 days of serving the property owner, a bank would be required to provide to the township with a second document outlining an in-state representative who would be responsible for the care and maintenance of the property, whether the property being foreclosed on falls under the state’s affordable housing law, the street address, lot and block number of the property, and the full name and address of a part within the state that is able to accept legal notices on the bank’s behalf.

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A bank that does not maintain a foreclosed property would be subject to $1,500 per day fines as long as a care, upkeep or maintenance violation persists after it is not repaired within the 60 day period – or a 10 day period if there is an imminent public health threat.

Banks that do not register foreclosed properties in the first place would be subject to $2,500 per day fines.

“The mortgage companies played fast and loose for years,” said Mayor John Ducey. “A lot of people got in over their head and they had to walk away from their houses, the banks still own them, and they don’t take care of them. There are gutters falling down off of these things, broken windows. They caused this problem, and they should have to maintain these places instead of our DPW workers.”

Since the 2008 mortgage crisis, the township has received numerous complaints about bank-owned properties around town in disrepair that neighbors said were affecting the home values in their neighborhoods. In some cases, the township has had to send its own public works employees to clear brush or make other repairs.

George Scott, a township resident, said he was glad to see the new ordinance enacted but felt it should have gone further to cover more than just the exterior of homes in foreclosure, since some residents have said foreclosed properties have become infested with mice and other pests.

Officials said they explored that option and are still looking into how to tackle such issues.

“We’re bound by state law,” said township attorney Kevin Starkey. “These homes are still privately owned, and to gain entrance into a private home you have to have a warrant or some reason to enter.”

If there is an imminent health threat, he said, authorities can enter a home under current laws.

Steve Ciliberto, a resident of the Winding River adult community, praised the ordinance and told a story of a neighboring property in his neighborhood that has been abandoned for years, leading to a problem with mice that has gone unabated.

“In the Normandy Invasion, we had training in landlines,” he said. “My house is a land mine with all the mouse traps in place. This is a wonderful, wonderful ordinance.”

Township officials said they will likely add more to the ordinance over time in order to tackle additional issues residents have brought up with regard to foreclosed homes. As passed this week, it is the first step in applying a state law enacted this summer authorizing municipalities to hold banks responsible for the properties they own.

“They say you can’t fight city hall, but there wasn’t much of a fight here, there was a suggestion,” Scott said. “I’m glad to see this happen and I’m glad we have some teeth.”


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  • Beach N8iv

    Yeah, right. The banks have lawyers that will make this disappear faster than Joe Scarpelli.

    • JW P

      Property liens don’t disappear very easily.

      • Beach N8iv

        Ever deal with a high powered attorney? How about an entire BUILDING FULL of them?

      • JW P

        You can’t dispose of a property, bank owned or not, when there are unpaid property taxes and other liens fixed to the title. And even if someone does purchase the property knowing about those charges, those liens move with the title. Every lawyer learns this in the second semester of law school.

      • Mark Story Jenks

        The property I wrote about is a health hazard. Why can’t the township condemn it, and tear it down? The next time I get another upper respiratory infection and prove it is from the black mold spores pouring out of the structure, who do I sue? The Township? The bank? The property maintenance company? They all seem to be negligent. Or Gary and Margaret Casaletto, whose names still appear on the tax rolls?
        http://taxinquiry.bricktownship.net/taxinquiry/AccountSummary.aspx?Account=624781

  • j.jones

    lower taxes and maybe some people would be able to stay in there home ..The economy still sticks ..

  • Mark Story Jenks

    My neighbors and I will welcome any help we can get. There is an abandoned house and property next door to us (126 South Beverly Drive) The house was a pre-fab, it is only about 12 or 14 years old. It was abandoned before the Hurricane, but the storm made matters much worse by blowing a good portion of the roof wide open. Seriously, Raccoons enter and exit on a daily basis either through open windows and doors, or by climbing up the side of the house and getting in and out through the open roof. I have pictures of some of them, both dead and alive. The Raccoons are attracted by the hundreds of Starlings that nest in the soffits. Raccoons love to dine on bird eggs and baby birds. There are also a lot of rats, feral cats, and Woodchucks that invade my vegetable garden. Raccoons from this house have attacked and indiscriminately killed four of my finest hens. (I raise chickens for eggs and as pets)

    There is an in-ground pool that is a breeding ground for mosquitos. A “Property Maintenance Company” does a laughable job of covering the pool and roof from time to time after the wind and weather destroy the cheap blue tarps. They last maybe six months. I have personally gone over there to try and re-nail up the vinyl siding that keeps falling off.

    Doors and windows are wide open. It is a matter of time before this becomes a hangout for teenagers partying, and/or homeless people. It is an extreme fire hazard, and I fear that if it were to catch fire it would spread to my trees and house, and the houses on the other side that are even closer. This is a tragedy waiting to happen.

    To add insult to injury, this house never should have been built. It was an undersized unbuildable lot for over fifty years. An engineer bought the lot, and with the help of a RELATIVE who worked for the township, (allegedly Scott McFadden, but I don’t know that for sure) they schemed and had “a portion of” Beverly Boulevard “vacated” in order to gain enough frontage to make it a buildable lot. Everyone who owns property in Beverly Beach was cheated when our only access to our property owners association beach property suddenly became very restricted. We no longer had any room to park our vehicles and/or boat trailers.

    The whole thing was a scam. Now instead of looking over to see a beautifully wooded lot where very many different species of birds nested, including Boat Tailed Grackles, Tree Swallows and Cedar Waxwings, we now get to see an ugly two story rat-hole that is literally falling apart. And it is overrun with Mugwort and “ornamental” invasive grasses similar to Phragmites. The entire back of the property is overrun with these weeds, and my front door faces it all.

    My brother and I attended a “Property Maintenance Commission” board hearing. A township official requested some repairs to be made, but it seemed that the only representative for the property was a woman lawyer for the “Property Maintenance Company”, (who do as little actual maintenance as possible). Her only contact with the (OWNER?) was through email. There is something fishy going on here, and we, the surrounding property owners, are being victimized over it.

    • #@#.com

      Multiply your neighbors shady zoning approval by the 100’s and that is the reason Scarpelli went to prison. Undersized lots, illegal property usage, favors for friends and families and bribe payers. So what, a small group of builders, lawyers and engineers get shady approvals to get rich, while hundreds , if not thousands of tax payers get screwed for years. Hey, Joe Woolston and Andy Pat would vote for Scarpelli and McFadden tomorrow if they could. They have said so. Summerfest was FREE.

  • Chief Wahoo

    Ducey, Lydecker and Fozman vs. Dimon, Moynihan and Blankfiend. I know who I’m betting on. And it’s not the lawyer who need the taxpayers of Brick to pay for his families health benefits.

    ANARCHO-CAPITALISM.

  • #@#.com

    Go after the real estate companies that own property. There are 2 buildings next to Rt88 Hess station that have been for sale for 20 years. they should be condemned. Same with one near St. Dominic Church on Old Squan and 88. Could name quite a few more around town also.