From the Home News Tribune:
A proposed ordinance could ensure foreclosed properties are kept up in the absence of a live-in owner at the threat of a $500 daily fine for noncompliance.
Councilman Michael Class said he began working on the ordinance after residents came to him complaining that foreclosed properties in their neighborhood were not being maintained.
“We’ve had a couple instances in town where the bank forecloses and . . . they don’t take care of the property. The grasses start growing long, the papers start piling up outside the house. Sometimes when people move out they leave behind a lot of garbage, and it never gets cleaned up,” he said. “There’s nothing currently on the books that protects neighbors when this kind of thing happens.”
In order to keep the properties maintained until a new buyer is found, the ordinance would require the new owner after foreclosure — most likely the bank or mortgage company — to register the property with the borough at a proposed registration fee of $50, Class said.
If the complaint did reach the court level, Johnson said the judge could either fine the offending party or give them another opportunity to clean it up.
If, at that time, the property wasn’t clean, fines would be imposed.
“It’s up to the judge to say what kind of fine he’s going to impose, but he has the discretion of going up to 500 bucks,” he said. “The fine can be a continuing fine for each day, so . . . they’re not going to let that kind of a thing happen because it’s much too expensive. It’s much cheaper for them to hire someone to clean up the place than to (pay the fines).”