Vacant & Abandoned, Bank-Owned Property Registration Program
August 26, 2016
Last year (August 18, 2015), after a couple months of vigorous debate, research and discussion, City Council passed, with a 4-to-1 vote, ORDINANCE NO. 2015-03 -- "PROVIDING FOR FORECLOSURE REGISTRATION...REGISTRATION OF REAL PROPERTY HOLDING MORTGAGES AND DEFAULTS; MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS...SECURITY REQUIREMENTS." I introduced the measure after seeing many Florida cities successfully holding banks and lenders accountable for vacant and abandoned properties they have taken possession of after foreclosure. In Florida and throughout the U.S., similar ordinances ensure that properties are secured, lawns and pools are cared for, and a regular maintenance schedule is developed. The registrations are well-known by lenders, mortgage companies and financial institutions, who proactively check city codes for "Property Registration" programs and pay the appropriate fees at registration. Gulfport's fee is $150 per registered vacant, abandoned and bank-owned property.
A few weeks ago, an inquiry was made to the City Manager on the status of Gulfport's foreclosure registration program (now one full year). With the hard work and dedication of city staff, as well as institutions that voluntarily seek to check and abide by our ordinance, I am very happy to report that the City of Gulfport currently has 25 bank-owned bandoned properties fully registered -- a lot higher than many other cities. I checked the most current listing of these ordinances throughout Florida, and currently there are a total of 164 ordinances, with five added after Gulfport's adoption of Ordinance No. 2015-03.