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Addressing Foreclosed and Abandoned Properties

NCJ Number
Roxann Pais; Robert V. Wolf
Date Published
April 2010
8 pages
This report offers a host of responses developed by jurisdictions across the United States to address the problem of foreclosed and abandon properties and provide for safer communities.
With nearly 3.2 million foreclosures in the United States in 2008, it is understandable that much of the public's attention has been focused on the economic repercussions of the Nation's housing crisis. However, the repercussions for law enforcement have been as significant. The increased foreclosures and abandoned properties has generated many interrelated problems from unsafe structures and higher crime rates to homelessness and strains on municipal services. This guide offers ideas and potential responses to help policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and community partners address the challenges presented by foreclosed and abandoned properties. Ideas are offered in the areas of prevention (i.e., create housing resource center, develop process to clear legal title for heirs, offer temporary and/or extended financial assistance, establish emergency loan program), enforcement (i.e., require vacancy license and liability insurance, impose a tax on abandoned property, make "nuisance" crimes a felony, expedite tax foreclosures, create an enforcement task force, use inspection warrant), and reuse (i.e., consider demolition, create a land bank, create a side-yard program, broaden receivership laws, build greater special financing for property in troubled neighborhoods).