Mick Vogt, an inspector with Villa Park, IL shared this video with me of “How to Construct a Snowman” from a zoning inspector’s perspective. It’s delightful. http://www.gontramarchitecture.com/portfolio/Holiday_Video_2009/How_to_Construct_a_Snowman.swf
Just when I think I’ve seen everything, an inspector sends me a picture she took after someone complained about a code violation. In keeping with the season, I am sharing it with all of you to see if anyone can think of what the charge would or should be.
For anyone who is not aware of it, MERS was created by the mortgage banking industry to streamline the mortgage process by using electronic commerce to eliminate paper. Its mission is to register every mortgage loan in the United States on the MERS® System. If you are a member of government, you can access the information for free by applying for a username and password at http://www.mersinc.org/ppc/index.aspx This will enable an inspector to find out which lender has a mortgage, the history of it which may help in finding out the status of a foreclosure and who is responsible for the property. Once again, I’m grateful to Kelly Anbach for sharing this information with me. Many of these loans have been transferred when lenders fail. I have prosecuted cases where the lender has possession but doesn’t want to spend anymore money on a property that’s an albatross around its neck. These new lenders obtain the loans in bulk and often have no idea what junk they are receiving. In the meantime, the municipalities are trying to deal with these blighted properties and trying to get the lenders to take responsibility whether they want to or not. Sometimes we have to threaten demolition if there’s no agreement. The quicker we can get to a responsible party, the more likely it is we can salvage a property before it deteriorates and requires demolition.
Once again, I’m thanking Kelly Anbach, inspector for the Village of Hinsdale for finding out about a new program. Detroit is working with lenders to keep foreclosed homes occupied with a special program, ROOF (Retaining Occupancy On Foreclosure) whereby former owners of these homes are allowed to stay in them if they pay for the utilities, a fee tied to their income and other costs. When the homes are sold, occupants can receive refunds of up to 50% of the monthly fees they have paid, if they have maintained the property and moved out on time. This sounds like a great way to keep the maintenance up on the property until a new owner takes over. You can read more about it at: http://www.freep.com/article/20091122/COL06/911220515/1322/Detroit-program-to-keep-people-in-foreclosed-homes