The Board of Health recently discussed their role in addressing distressed local properties on the brink of or in foreclosure.
For example, Board administrator Michelle Carlisle noted that a Pearl Street property being foreclosed upon has mattresses and trash in its yard, and the town has not been able to contact Bank of America about the property.
One line of attack could be to have the town clean up debris and place a lien on the property. The lien would then, hopefully, be satisfied at the time of a sale or foreclosure.
“The cost of the town to get rid of the mattress is minute compared to the town’s cost to get a lien,” said Board Chairman Margaret Kidder said.
“It would make sense to just have the DPW go over with a dump truck, take anything that is outside and dispose of it at the transfer station,” Board member Mary Spinner said
But Kidder, a vice president at a local bank, cautioned, home owners, even in arrears, have period of time to come back and claim property once a foreclosure auction is complete. “My only caution would be that we need to get a legal opinion on what we can and can’t do,” she said.
“I foreclosed on a house the other day and there was nice stuff there,” said Kidder, “It’s their stuff.”
Kidder noted, too, that there’s a different response from local lenders in the tough situation of foreclosing a property versus a national bank in another state. Local banks are more likely to step up and respond to a trashy foreclosed property, she said. “They don’t want it on the front page of a paper, believe me.”
— Mary E. Arata