State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today commented on the enactment of House Bill 463, legislation signed into law this week by Gov. John Kasich that will help communities fight blight by establishing an expedited foreclosure process for abandoned and vacant homes.
“Abandoned homes stuck in the lengthy foreclosure process can depress neighborhood property values and attract vandalism and crime,” said Lepore-Hagan. “Modernizing Ohio’s foreclosure laws helps stabilize neighborhoods and prevent urban decay by giving communities a tool to speed up the foreclosure process.”
HB 463 also included a provision requiring vacant and abandoned homes foreclosed under the new expedited process to be secured using clear polycarbonate windows and doors rather than the traditional plywood. Federal mortgage financier Fannie Mae has been using the transparent, virtually unbreakable clear boards to secure vacant homes since early 2014, and proponents say the clear boards are more secure, reduce crime and are more visually appealing.
Through the new state law, clear boarding will only be mandated for abandoned homes under the expedited foreclosure process.
“Clear boarding will better secure vacant properties and reduce some of the visual blight associated with vacant homes,” said Lepore-Hagan. “I believe this new law will contribute in a positive way to the tremendous progress being made by the Mahoning County Land Bank, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC), City of Youngstown and others in restoring and revitalizing our neighborhoods.”
HB 463 also addresses the oversight and functions in sheriff’s sales and processes by local governments to act in eradicating blight. The new law change goes into effect 90 days after the bill’s enactment.