Real Estate

Plan seeks to secure, clean up foreclosed homes

Foreclosed and abandoned homes could get boarded up quickly under a program proposed by Modesto's Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department.

Deputy Director Julie Hannon wants to seal unsecured homes to block people from breaking in and creating hazards for neighbors.

Her department has a list of 184 foreclosed homes that have drawn complaints from resi- dents. Of those, 33 are deemed unsecured.

"Once you have a property open, it's a nuisance to the neighborhood because it at- tracts transients or kids wanting an adventure," she said.

Today, Hannon is scheduled to ask the City Council's Economic Development Committee for $50,000 to launch a program that would allow Modesto to board up the homes and bill the owners with liens on their properties.

The council would have to sign off on the committee's recommendation for the program to take effect.

Hannon's proposal would re- quire the city to contact a property owner with a "board and abate" order. The owner would be given 15 days to remove weeds, garbage and other debris and secure the site.

If the owner addresses the complaints, the city would continue to monitor the property monthly and assess a proposed $104 code enforcement inspection fee per visit.

If the owner does not respond to the city's order, Modesto would hire a contractor to board and clean the home. Properties falling in that category also would be assessed the $104 inspection fee.

Hannon and the city attorney's office are looking at other tools to get a handle on foreclosed properties in Modesto, such as requiring property management companies to post their contact information on some homes.

Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties had the highest foreclosure rates in the country during August, according to RealtyTrac. Other cities in the area, such as Manteca, are writing ordinances to force owners of foreclosed homes to maintain their properties.

Modesto's Economic Development Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room 2005 of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.

Modesto residents can report problems with foreclosed homes to the city's Neighborhood Preservation Unit at 571-5817.

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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