The foreclosure crisis struck communities across Kentucky with great force. In the wake of negative outcomes, elected officials and local staff found themselves shifting gears to better address abandonment, concerning calls from constituents, diminishing property values, and compromised budgets.
Code and building departments are utterly frustrated with not being able to reach the bank listed on the County records. At the end of the day, you think the bank doesn’t care and is unresponsive. And all you want is resolution!
When a vacant property is discovered, most local staff may either receive a telephone call from a constituent complaining about the poor condition of a property or they drive by a neglected home that is vacant. Typically, the first stop is the County, thinking that it is the best and most current source for information. Records may list a “bank” that that issued the mortgage or a trustee. The jurisdiction then sends a notice to them, but they are not the mortgage servicer - the entity tasked with the maintenance of the property. An unnecessary delay or no response then follows. Out of desperation, the jurisdiction abates the nuisance and the cost is either never recovered or received much later.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Valuable (and wasted) time is spent researching a property that does not deliver the direct, much needed point of contact. Communication does not occur and no one wins.
Early intervention is critical and one of the best practices of the mortgage industry. When a homeowner is 45-days delinquent on a mortgage payment, the servicer orders Safeguard to send a local inspector to identify occupancy status. This is done each month during the foreclosure process. Once the home is determined to be vacant, preservation work may follow, at the direction of the servicer. After the foreclosure sale, the servicer is the owner and has the authority market the home to return it to a productive use.
Jurisdictions want resolution and servicers want to ensure that their collateral interest (the home) is preserved. A system to allow the two to communicate creates a win-win for all. In response, Safeguard developed Compliance Connections.
This free, web-based platform is a viable tool that allows a jurisdiction to enter the address of the vacant property and provide the servicer with information to effectively treat the violation. Photos and violation notices should be attached to expedite action.
The Compliance Connections team will then do all of the research through public, private and proprietary databases. With an average response time of less than 2 hours, you will be notified of the property’s history and current status. The name of the responsible party will be provided. Then, an email about the issue will be sent to you and the servicer or preservation company. This creates an avenue for open and direct communication. In the end, efficiency is enhanced and resolution is expedited.
Today, nearly 1,500 jurisdictions have enrolled, 15 of which are from the Bluegrass State – including jurisdictions both big and small.
Compliance Connections works! For example, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona reported that it saved approximately 60% from its abatement budget. Money that was once allocated for abatement is now being put to other, more productive uses.
Obtaining the direct point of contact for a vacant property is especially critical in judicial states, like Kentucky, where the foreclosure process can be lengthy. An abandoned property can generate an immense impact on the safety and quality of life of neighbors and the aesthetics of a community. Reducing the timeframe by expediting this process will provide a benefit to all.
The industry spends millions of dollars each year to preserve vacant properties. Many of the activities undertaken by servicers adhere to the regulations established and enforced by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the VA. These measures are in place to protect properties and communities.
For your own subscription, go to https://connect.complianceconnections.com. The system is only open to municipal staff. Let Compliance Connections help the community that so many call “home.”
Since 1990, Safeguard has been working for servicers and has been an active participant with cities and the mortgage servicing industry.
Safeguard established a community initiatives department to speak directly with cities to share free information and resources. A solution to identify and communicate with a direct point of contact was needed to meet the shared objectives of our clients and jurisdictions to preserve vacant properties and maintain the integrity of neighborhoods. The solution is Compliance Connections.