Archive

Archive for July, 2009

Cities with the most home foreclosures

July 30th, 2009 No comments

RealtyTrak has just released a study charting the cities with the most home foreclosures. You can find it at: http://www.realtytrac.com/ContentManagement/PressRelease.aspx?channelid=9&ItemID=6965

The Sun Belt is the hardest hit.

Categories: Foreclosure Tags:

Rental Inspection Ordinances – A Great Tool

July 29th, 2009 No comments

A rental inspection ordinance that involves licensing landlords is a very effective tool in keeping property from falling into disrepair or worse.  It’s one of the best ways to keep a lid on crime in a multi-family building.  While many landlords oppose it at the beginning, successful ones eventually are won over as they see that negligent landlords have to raise their rents because they have to spend money on repairs.  This takes away a competitive edge that they have had since they didn’t spend money on normal maintenance.  Tenants benefit because they don’t have to be afraid of getting evicted if they complain about conditions as the local jurisdiction’s inspectors identify problem areas.  It’s unfortunate that in Illinois, a local jurisdiction needs to be a home rule community to enact a rental licensing ordinance.  There has been legislation proposed to allow all communities to pass these types of ordinances and I hope it becomes law someday.  It would make my efforts so much effective to have this option when addressing crime ridden housing.

Foreclosure Dilemma

July 25th, 2009 3 comments

I was in Peoria teaching Legal Aspects this week and met lots of enthusiastic inspectors eager for tips on how to more effective at enforcement.  One of the biggest problems we are all running into is who to enforce the code against in the in-between stage in a foreclosure.  Too often the owners are abandoning the property but the lender hasn’t taken possession yet and takes a hands off approach while the property goes downhill.  This time period can go on for months.  I’m also hearing that in some cases the lenders are walking away altogether. I’ve had some success notifying the lender under the theory that it meets the definition of “owner” under the IPMC.  At least the grass gets cut.  I’ve encouraged clients to begin demolition lawsuits when appropriate but that usually is for half-built structures.  Has anyone found any techniques that work well in this situation?  There are a great number of these buildings out there and are so detrimental to the neighborhood.

Categories: Foreclosure, property maintenance Tags:

Leveraging Code Enforcement for Neighborhood Safety

July 13th, 2009 2 comments

Simon Goldstein with the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest shared a great resource with me. It’s a brochure that deals with police-code-community partnerships and it discusses the relationship between code enforcement and neighborhoods. Its opening paragraph is as follows:

Effective enforcement of building and housing codes is a key ingredient in many neighborhood revitalization efforts. Community developers have found that the long term success of their revitalization work often hinges on cleaning up or redeveloping problem properties that deter investors, frustrate existing residents and generally contribute to an environment of fear, disorder and crime. Law enforcement also understands the important relationships of crime, blight, and code enforcement. Under the rubric of the “broken window theory”, social scientists have documented the opportunistic nature of crime, showing that vacant properties and dilapidated buildings become magnets for crime. Applying the techniques of problem-oriented policing, more law enforcement agencies today use a place-based approach to tackle these neighborhood hot spots deploying special nuisance abatement teams with assistance from their code enforcement partners.

You can download the entire brochure at http://www.lisc.org/content/publications/detail/5648

Categories: Law Enforcement and Codes Tags:

Owner fined $35,720 for 150 cats

July 13th, 2009 2 comments

I have had some pretty awful trash houses filled with animals in my years of prosecution but this woman kept 150 cats in her mansion in New Jersey. The largest number of animals I ever dealt with were slightly over 100 Bichon dogs where the inspectors did an administrative search warrant. In the past if an inspector found a house like that, we’d put the owner in touch with a developer who would buy the property, tear the house down and build something new. With the current economy, that doesn’t happen and these cases can be real nightmares, especially if the owner doesn’t have the financial resources to hire someone for the cleanup. The residence has to be sanitized before anyone can move back in so it usually has to be condemned, often on the spot. I wonder if the local government will actually collect the fines?

http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009907100335

Categories: property maintenance Tags:

City plumbing inspector who nails others for working without permits accused of doing same thing

July 8th, 2009 No comments

One of the things I love about living in the Chicago area is the entertaining misdeeds in which city workers get involved.  Here’s a story from the Chicago Sun-Times about an inspector who catches other people working without a permit.  He is alleged to have installed a flood control system without permits and was caught when he busted a water pipe.  It gets better. He called the city emergency number after the mishap and then asked the responding personnel to give him city-owned parts so he could fix the problem.  Apparently, this was a long standing tradition.  Unfortunately for him, the inspector who responded was a whistleblower on a separate corruption case.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1654513,CST-NWS-leak07.article

Categories: Politics and building codes Tags:
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