Foreclosures are through the roof and banks are
taking back homes everywhere. Once the lender takes the home,
they become responsible for the upkeep and maintenance on the
home; this includes mowing the grass and paying the property
taxes. But some banks are simply letting them go and the
Richland County (Ohio) Treasurer's office has had enough. They
are filing tax foreclosures to get the homes sold to someone who
will take care of them and start paying taxes.
Sherman Avenue was taken back by
Deutsche Bank National
Trust Co. in November 2006 for $50,000 at the sheriff's sale on
a $117,000 mortgage. The prior owner bought the home in March
2005 for $130,000 and the county has the property valued at
$112,040. Currently the delinquent taxes are $4,147.92.
Deutsche Bank failed to respond to a notice the city sent
regarding city code violations for unmowed grass. The city
mowed the grass and assessed the bank to cover the expense.
Deutsche Bank spokesman John Gallagher said the
servicing company, not the trust company, is responsible
for paying the property taxes.
"DB National Trust Co. acts as trustee for
securitization trusts and, in some cases, as custodian
for the mortgage documents. The function of the trustee
is largely an administrative one," he said.
Carrington Asset Acceptance Co., which he said was
servicer for the loan, had no comment.
Mansfield News Journal)
This seems a little
"dodgy" to me. Sure, the servicing company is supposed to take
care of paying the taxes while they are servicing the
homeowner's loan. By the time the forclosure rolls around, the
homeowner obviously hasn't been making the payments, so where
would the servicer get the money to pay taxes? Besides that, at
this point, the homeowner no longer owns the home and the
mortgage has been foreclosed on - that would seem to end the
Greenlawn Avenue was taken back by
Network in September 2003. The Auditor's office does not list a
sales price - perhaps this was a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
The previous owner had purchased the home in March 1996 for
$39,000. Delinquent taxes total $3,978.94 and the county has
the property valued at $27,830.
The city also sent notices to Homecomings for failure to mow
the grass and wound up doing it for them with the expenses
assessed to the bank.
According to the News Journal, a spokesman for
Homecomings said she could not comment on pending litigation.
Wayne Street went back to FCI National Lender Services in
February 2005. The Auditor's office does not list a sales
price. FCI's mortgage was for $27,353 and filed in August 2000.
The county values the property at $14,270. It was apparently
purchased by the previous owner in June 1994 for only $4,000.
The total delinquent taxes are $2,081.15. FCI was also assessed
for lawn maintenance.
The News Journal was unable to reach FCI for comment.
McPherson Street was acquired by
First American Title
Insurance Company in October 2004 for $8,000. The previous
owner purchased the property for $45,000 in October 1999. The
county has the property valued at $47,110 and the tax bill
It would be interesting to know the circumstances that led to
a title insurer acquiring title - perhaps a title insurance
The delinquent taxes in this case seems to be the result
of an error on the Treasurer's part. According to the News
Journal, the tax bills were sent to the wrong address.
First American spokeswoman Carrie Gaska said the
county used an erroneous address on tax bills, sending
them to 111 instead of 1111 Superior Ave. After the
mistake was discovered, the delinquent taxes were paid,
"Had the bills been sent to the correct address, they
would not have gone delinquent," Gaska said.
However, as of yet, the Auditor's office does not show a
These homes are not in the best part of town. They are all
located near the downtown area and it appears most were owned as
investment properties - rental units on the low end of the
The goal of the county is clear - get the properties sold
before they deteriorate beyond repair.
Matt Finfgeld, delinquent tax collector for the
treasurer's office, said none of the banks sued was
"It's those out-of-town banks that just walk away. To
me, it's just amazing," he said. "They're not that
delinquent. But the houses are vacant -- and if we don't
get them soon, they won't be in a shape where they are
livable. After they've been sitting there vacant for two
or three years with no heating and no lighting, it
doesn't take long for them to deteriorate.
"If we don't get to them quickly enough, there are
going to be demolition orders, or they're not going to
be in shape to sell again."
I have seen some lenders voluntarily release mortgages,
leaving them free and clear for the owner, just because they
didn't want to take them back. If they were to take back some
of these properties, they would not possibly be able to sell
them for enough to cover the costs of the sale, let alone
recoup their losses on the defaulted loan. While they are
sitting vacant, the banks could be subjected to fines and
penalties for failing to maintain them. Ultimately, they could
even be faced with a demolition order.
This is what happens when lenders loan far more than these
properties are worth. Investors have little to lose by letting
them go and the lender rarely wants to take them back.
But, if they do decide to foreclose, they need to be
responsible property owners. When they fail to maintain the
properties and pay the taxes, the local communities suffer.
Surrounding property values decline and the county loses a part
of its tax base.
Kudos to Richland County for taking action against the