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New City Law: Banks Must Secure, Maintain Properties They Seize

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A new city ordinance will obligate banks to secure and maintain abandoned properties they seize in foreclosures. (CBS)

A new city ordinance will obligate banks to secure and maintain abandoned properties they seize in foreclosures. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The number of Illinois foreclosures may be dropping, but some Chicagoans are still upset at the number of dangerous buildings that banks have seized.

A new Chicago law is supposed to force banks to secure and maintain buildings the day foreclosure papers are filed, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports

If you drive around certain parts of the city, there are no obvious signs many of the vacant homes have been cared for at all.

Granted, the ordinance doesn’t go into effect for about another month, but considering thousands of buildings need attention, one group wonders when banks will get moving.

Ray Rogers doesn’t let his kids play outside.  He fears they’ll get hurt if they’re anywhere near the vacant, debris-filled house next door.

It’s one of a hundred unsecured, dangerous vacant buildings in a file compiled by the group action now. Members say every one of the homes will soon be the responsibility of Bank of America, once the vacant buildings ordinance goes into effect next month. 

They staged a protest Thursday after one member tried to bring the file to a Bank of America official this week. They arrested her instead.

“I came in good faith, in peace, and I was thrown out,” Action Now board member Marsha Godard said.

Once it’s officially on the books next month, banks will need to secure and maintain vacant buildings at the start of foreclosure or face fines of up to $1,000 a day. 

Certainly Bank of America isn’t the only bank with dozens, if not hundreds, of properties in dangerous disrepair. But it’s the bank this group has focused on because, members say, the Bank of America has not made good on its stated open-door policy to help.

“We’re gonna make sure they comply,” Godard said.

A Bank of America spokesperson says foreclosure security and maintenance are top priorities for the bank. She says the bank is reviewing that list of vacant properties provided by Action Now. If BOA is responsible for them, the spokesperson says the bank will inspect and quickly address any problems. 

In a month, banks will have no choice.

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