Thursday, October 13, 2011

RIVERDALE FORECLOSURE: Riverdale to put liens on foreclosed eyesores to pay for cleanup -


The front yard used to have a nice, green lawn. Now it's just a barren patch of weeds and dirt. Neighbors, fed up with weeds that grew several feet high finally mowed it down.

No one will touch the backyard, where sod has grown several feet high. A satellite dish lays discarded by the back deck. A couch has sat in the elements for so long, it stinks. The owners moved out a year-and-a-half ago when the home was foreclosed on.

"The people walked away from it," Riverdale City Administrator Larry Hansen said as he showed us around. "This used to be grass."

All over the city, in just about every development, sits vacant foreclosed homes. The city is now cracking down on the abandoned homes, by putting liens on the properties in an effort to force the banks to take care of them.

"We call it a nuisance because it is a threat to health, safety and welfare," Hansen said. "Frankly, with an unresponsive owner of record -- whether they've abandoned it or it's in the process of foreclosure -- we as a city have had enough of this."

Under modified nuisance ordinances passed by the Riverdale City Council, the city will pay for clean up to vacant, foreclosed properties. It will then place a lien on the property in an effort to ensure the bank (which owns the property) pays for the costs before it is sold. The city will also shut off water access, prohibiting anyone from moving in until the lien is taken care of.

"If they don't want to respond to us, that's fine," Hansen said. "They don't need to respond to us. Someday they're going to want to sell this property, and when they do, there's a reckoning."

A new survey put out Thursday by the industry group RealtyTrac said Utah is sixth in the nation for foreclosures. According to filings, one in every 408 homes in Utah in September entered into foreclosure. Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit, Iron and Washington counties ranked the highest for foreclosures.

Neighbors in Riverdale, who have grown frustrated by the blight next door, said they have tried to keep the properties clean. Many have mowed down the weeds, which quickly return.

"It is so annoying," said Tiffani Hansen.

Daivd Price, who lives across the street from another home that has been vacant for months, said it is affecting his property value.

"It's a good neighborhood," he said. "We have great neighbors, but definitely something like that tends to make people driving through think twice."


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