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Archive for December, 2011

FHFA sues Chicago over vacant building registration

December 16th, 2011 No comments

A very worrisome lawsuit has been filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, against the City of Chicago which recently passed an ordinance that requires mortgage holders to register vacant buildings 30 days after they become vacant or 60 days after a mortgage goes into default, whichever is later, pay a registration fee, keep the premises free of weeds or trash and make sure they are structurally sound.

The lawsuit says that:

….the city’s ordinance encroaches on the FHFA’s role as the sole regulator and supervisor of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It says Chicago cannot mandate how the agencies handle vacant buildings for which they are the designated mortgagee.

The problem is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own about 258,000 mortgages in Chicago so a considerable number of vacant structures would be unregulated if the lawsuit succeeds.  Illinois law makes it almost impossible for a municipality to cut weeds, fix up property and add the costs to the property tax bill.  This has really hampered our ability to address problem properties which is why ordinances like the one in Chicago are so important.

Case dismissed against inspector charged with negligent homicide

December 16th, 2011 No comments

A number of inspectors have shown an interest in the case of the Aspen inspector charged with negligent homicide because a family died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a residence he had inspected and have asked me about the outcome.   The good news for the inspector is that the case was dismissed in November but without a finding as to whether he was immune from prosecution under the law.  Instead the case was dismissed because the indictment failed to show that the matter occurred within the time set by the statute of limitations. The prosecution failed to plead the date of the deaths in the indictment.  It was an odd ending to a very troubling case.  The civil suits are still pending.

How many code violations can you find?

December 16th, 2011 No comments

One of the great unknowns is what lies behind the drywall when mechanical, plumbing and electrical work is covered up.  I ran across a blog entry complete with photos of one man’s answer to this question at “Chez Neumansky, 3rd Time’s the Charm”.  How many code violations can you spot?  I wish him well on correcting all of the problems.

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