Chicago Will Hold Banks Accountable

Recently, the City Council of Chicago approved an ordinance that will hold lending institutions responsible for the maintenance of foreclosed properties. Prior to this move, community groups have been increasingly vocal, responding to rising crime rates in the past few months. According to residents, abandoned buildings become “crime havens” for squatters, gangs, and drug dealers, as well as nests for rats, raccoons, possums, and roaches.  As of last year, abandoned properties have cost the City $15 million for general board-ups, upkeep, and demolition.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted that “All too often, communities are devastated by foreclosures as vacant properties fall into disrepair and the City takes on an unnecessary financial burden.”  Thus, with an amendment to the ordinance, bank- owned properties will face fines unless they are routinely maintained, through actions such as addressing complaints about the building, securing entrances to a vacant building, shoveling snow and cutting grass.  According to Alderman Pat Dowell, “Banks will be responsible for keeping vacant properties from deteriorating while the foreclosure is in process, keeping them secure and keeping our neighborhoods intact.”

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