Despite statistics from the Ohio Supreme Court showing that foreclosure filings in Ohio have experienced an annual increase for the past 14 consecutive years andmore than 24,700 foreclosure filings occurred in the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 9 percent over the same time period last year, the Ohio Senate has decided to postpone until after the Summer break consideration of several key pieces of legislation designed to protect homeowners and renters in the event of a foreclosure.
Three specific pieces of legislation have passed the Ohio House, but have all stalled in the Ohio Senate, that would help address concerns that Greater Ohio and others have expressed with various parts of the foreclosure process. House Bill 3 would regulate mortgage servicers and charge a filing fee, the proceeds of which would return to communities to fund prevention counseling and foreclosure mitigation programs. House Bill 9 would require landlords to notfiy current and potential tenants if a property is or will soon be in foreclosure. The final bill, House Bill 323, would limit the amount of time that properties are vacant and deteriorating by requiring that the mortgage holder file for default judgment in a foreclosure proceeding within a set period of time or risk a court ruling that they abandoned their interest in the property. It also establishes penalties to discourage homeowners from vandalizing their foreclosed property.
Greater Ohio, informed by a combination of extensive research and outreach around the state with our local partners, has stressed the need to pass a legislative package of foreclosure protection and corrective action bills most recently in our jointly issued report with the Brookings Institution, Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio's Communities for the Next Economy, and in a paper released last year, Addressing Ohio's Foreclosure Crisis: Taking the Next Steps, commissioned by Greater Ohio and written by national urban affairs expert Alan Mallach.
We encourage you to contact your local representatives of the General Assembly, particularly your Ohio Senate members, throughout the summer and ask them to research these important bills and also urge the Ohio Senate in particular to take action on the legislation when they return in the fall. Unfortunately as statistics such as the ones from the Ohio Supreme Court show, Ohio’s foreclosure problem is getting worse not better and the time for reform is now.