It seems some of the biggest, most profitable banks in America could be responsible for your property values dropping and your neighborhood becoming less safe as a result of poorly maintained vacant homes. From the Boston Globe:
Two of the city’s top delinquent landlords are not landlords at all. They’re banks.
City officials said Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America owe more than $80,000 in fines for allowing many vacant properties in foreclosure to fall into disrepair and blight neighborhoods.
Of course, the banks are using the incredible mess they made of the financial system through sloppy paperwork, legal shortcuts and outright fraud to deny they owe the money.
The situation is another example of the problems created by the modern mortgage market, where loans are sliced, diced, and resold many times by banks and financial institutions, diffusing ownership and, ultimately, responsibility. Banks granted mortgages and sold them to other banks, which packaged them into securities and sold them to investors, which then hired the same banks to collect the loans.
This is a reminder that the victims of Wall Street’s misconduct during the housing bubble actually include millions of responsible Americans who had zero involvement in the bubble, but are simply unfortunate enough to live in a community where the banks refuse to take care of their property. A few unmaintained homes can be devastating to a neighborhood.
With towns still struggling due to the effects of the finical crash, but the banks restored to massive profitability, I think it is time local governments start dramatically increasing the penalties for unmaintained foreclosed property that, now, local taxpayers are forced to take care of.