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Ohio moves to combat zombie foreclosures through new legislation

By Mike Wheatley | July 4, 2016

The state of Ohio is stepping up its fight against neighborhood blight by introducing new legislation that aims to speed up the foreclosure process in the state.


Ohio’s new legislation will increase the pace at which abandoned foreclosures are forced through the pipeline.

"Ohio has now put itself ahead of the national curve in fighting community blight," Robert Klein, founder and chairman of Community Blight Solutions, told HousingWire.

Klein’s organization, based in Cleveland, has fought for three years to get a fast-track process in place to deal with the state’s foreclosed homes. According to Klein, the state’s outdated laws are one of the primary causes of community blight, and Ohio is lucky that it’s one of the only states to do something about them.

Under Ohio’s old laws, foreclosed homes can sit abandoned for a minimum of two years. But the new law, which will come into effect in 90 days time, will reduce this waiting time to just six months.

"No one will be forced out of their home by this law," Klein insisted. "There are clear protections to ensure that a property is, indeed, vacant and abandoned."

Ohio isn’t the only state to look at ways in which it can speed up foreclosures. In the state of New York, governor Andrew Cuomo last week signed a reform law of the state’s foreclosure process so authorities can get a better handle on what it termed “zombie” properties.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Senate may also soon consider introducing new laws that govern the handling of foreclosed and abandoned properties. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., recently proposed legislation that would tackle the “zombie foreclosure process”, and would require lenders to be more hands on in the upkeep and management of foreclosed homes on their books.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
  • 4 comments on “Ohio moves to combat zombie foreclosures through new legislation”

    1. To see OH HB 390 go here:

      Click on “View Current Version” to download.

      The most relevant language is found on pages 56-58, at § 2308.02.

      Part (A) first appears to require PETE status under ORC 1303.31 (UCC 3-301). But later in the same sentence there is a disjunctive “or,” that states “or a person with the right to enforce the obligation secured by the mortgage pursuant to law outside of Chapter 1303 of the Revised Code.” That language is repeated in (C)(2). That is rather disturbing.

      A recent Ohio Supreme Court opinion (Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v. Holden, Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-4603) held that being a “party entitled to enforce” a note IS required to enforce a note. It also held that being a “party entitled to enforce” a note IS required to enforce a mortgage. The court then expressed that the burden of proof required to establish being a “party entitled to enforce” a note is satisfied by … an assignment of mortgage, stating “For purposes of summary judgment, the bank established that it had received an assignment of the Holdens’ mortgage, that its mortgage interest survived the bankruptcy, and that the Holdens had defaulted. Thus, the bank met its Civ.R. 56 burden of proof …”

      (C)(3) lists a number of factors. Most of these are subject to “fudging.” An easy fudged combination could be:

      (d) – established with nothing more than tallish grass being referred to as “debris”
      (h) – established by the inspector not knocking on the door
      (k) – established by bank’s counsel merely uttering “Your Honor, the property is abandoned, and you can accept it as true because I’m an attorney and I say it is.”

      Part (D) references an “oral hearing,” but the statute makes no notice requirements for such hearing.


      There is a provision for a mortgagor to file a “written statement with the court indicating that the property is not vacant and abandoned,” at (C)(5). In accordance with that provision I recommend every homeowner in the state of Ohio preemptively record an “Affidavit of Occupancy, Nonvacancy, and Nonabandonment” (or some such thing) with the local recorder. I also recommend that every homeowner in the state of Ohio involved in foreclosure litigation preemptively file with the court a certified copy of the aforementioned affidavit.

    2. A fact; 99% of foreclosures are fraud. Realtors will be held accountable for continuing to aid and abet these foreclosure mills, kangaroo courts and corrupt sheriffs. Do your own research

    3. So the State is going to expedite the theft of the property by the Banks !!! Ohio is where John Kasich , former CEO of Lehman Brothers , is from ! No surprise !!! Lehman Brothers , and Bear Sterns were the two entities allowed to fail for the ILLEGAL SCHEME they pulled on the Residential Mortgage Industry . They all should have been held accountable , but committing crimes against the American Homeowner was what our Government chose instead !!!!!

    4. I would LOVE to see this take place. Too many of these homes are neglected with issues that need addressed in a timely manner. 2 years sitting empty seems negligent when there are plenty of buyers ready to scoop it up and fix their problems before the deferred maintenance destroys the home.

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