(August 2018) Despite an overall housing recovery, many communities are still held back by high numbers of vacant and abandoned homes. Increasingly, states are experimenting with expedited foreclosure processes for these properties to prevent blight – but are those laws producing results?
NCST Publishes New Report > Fast Track Foreclosure Laws: Not a Silver Bullet for Fighting Blight
A new report by the National Community Stabilization Trust, which focuses on stabilizing neighborhoods and eliminating blight, finds that the expedited foreclosure laws in four states – Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio – appear to have produced minimal results. Rather, these legislative efforts are more useful as policy vehicles for other changes to foreclosure laws.
“Unfortunately, the lack of data on expedited filings in places that have passed a fast-track foreclosure law makes it hard to determine what, if any, effect these laws have had,” said Julia Gordon, NCST’s Executive Vice President. “Additionally, in most jurisdictions, the majority of vacant properties are not in the foreclosure pipeline, so speeding up the process is not a silver bullet for solving the problem of blight.”
The report is based on analysis of available complaints and filings data from New Jersey as well as original interviews with attorneys, lobbyists, lending industry and consumer finance advocates in all four states. It includes the following recommendations for policymakers exploring fast-track foreclosure legislation as well as those in states that have already begun implementation:
- Ensure that both proposed and existing statutes require the collection of detailed data about the use of expedited foreclosure provisions;
- Consider how to ensure that expedited foreclosure provisions are used to protect neighborhoods from blight;
- More effectively engage consumer, neighborhood, and housing advocacy groups in the legislative process;
- Break down silos among advocates working in foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization;
- Enforce servicers’ obligation to protect and preserve properties.
Julia Gordon, the executive vice president of NCST, is available for background and/or interviews regarding this release. As a national expert on housing finance, mortgage, and foreclosure issues, Gordon drives NCST’s policy work, which focuses on federal, state and local policies related to neighborhood stabilization, blight and foreclosure prevention.