In an effort to minimize the impact of foreclosed properties that may not be properly maintained, the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance requiring the registration, inspection and maintenance of foreclosed homes.
“It’s long overdue. Some of the houses in our neighborhoods are horrible,” Commissioner Dave Eggers said. “I’m tired of these banks not taking care of these houses and ruining neighborhoods.”
The ordinance, which goes into effect Jan. 1, applies to properties in unincorporated Pinellas that have been foreclosed on or are entering foreclosure. It requires that they be registered with the county and periodically inspected by the registrant to ensure they are being maintained.
Properties without any formal foreclosure action are not subject to this ordinance.
The registry will include the name and address of the mortgagee, the registered agent or the property manager’s contact information. This will allow county staff to easily identify a point of contact responsible for maintenance issues on a foreclosed home.
The goal of the registry is to reduce the need for recurring code enforcement actions against foreclosed properties, avoid detracting from the character of existing neighborhoods, and, ultimately, return these properties to the market in viable condition.
Registration will also require an annual fee, which has not yet been determined.
Once the ordinance goes into effect, the mortgagee will have 30 days to register the property. Failure to register could result in a fine and code enforcement actions may be taken on properties that do not address maintenance issues.