Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sarasota Taking Steps to Curb Its 'Zombies'

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sarasota Taking Steps to Curb Its 'Zombies'

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

Code enforcement officials are asking for controls to hold banks responsible for hundreds of so-called "zombie foreclosures" in the city.

Many foreclosures are homes that have been vacant for years, abandoned by owners who were evicted during the Great Recession. The properties are in limbo, with banks and other large mortgage lenders slow to regain control of houses that threaten to become neighborhood blights.

Someone has to pay for upkeep on the properties until they are repossessed or auctioned, city officials say, and an ordinance proposed this week would require the mortgage holders to register foreclosures and pay for maintenance.

The city counts 425 such properties, part of a larger problem that has left 1,600 homes languishing in Southwest Florida alone.

Zombie foreclosures -- abandoned properties that have started the default process but have not been repossessed or auctioned -- have piled up as banks sit on nearly $200 million in local real estate assets that they can't control. …

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