The California State Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1472, authored by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) on Thursday. SB 1472 is a bill that will provide local governments additional tools to fight blight caused by foreclosed properties primarily owned by banks and financial institutions.
“Bank and financial institution’s foreclosed homes can create a nuisance for neighboring residents,." said Pavley. "Properties not being cared for lowers the value of surrounding homes, and abandoned properties attract gangs, drug users, and squatters. Untended properties also create mosquito abatement problems and increased fire risks.”
SB 1472 extends the use of enforcement tools for local agencies to combat blight, including fines of up to $1,000 per violation, per day. This bill provides an incentive to potential homebuyers, investors or developers to purchase blighted properties by preventing blight enforcement actions from being taken against new purchasers of blighted property for 60 days, provided repairs are being made to the property.
“We are doing everything we can to help homeowners and our communities recover from this terrible economic recession, Pavley said. "We must ensure homeowners are not hurt by any further foreclosure issues, including the impact run-down foreclosed properties owned by financial institutions can have on an entire neighborhood.”
The Bill allows the imposition of the costs of a receivership over blighted property to be imposed directly against the owner of blighted property. Currently, blight remediation is paid for using loans against the property taken by a court appointed receiver. This should encourage greater use of the receivership remedies provided by the state’s Health and Safety Code.
In addition, SB 1472 also requires banks that release liens on a foreclosed property to inform local code enforcement agencies of the release, so demolition or remediation of severely blighted property can proceed without further delay.
“The problem of blighted abandoned properties is likely to get worse. We just heard last week that defaults in California jumped 14% from February to March and many experts believe that we are on the cusp of another wave of foreclosures,” Pavley said.
SB 1472 is part of the package of legislation sponsored by the State Attorney General legislative package, the "The California Homeowner Bill of Rights." The bill now goes to the California State Assembly for consideration.