COLUMBUS—State Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) this week voted in favor of House Bill 134, legislation that seeks to expedite the foreclosure process and transfer of unoccupied parcels, and to make other changes relative to residential foreclosure actions.

“Cutting red tape to make our communities healthier, safer places is simply the right thing to do,” Rep. Reineke said. “I fully support streamlining the foreclosure process so we can eliminate blight in our neighborhoods. Abandoned and blighted properties are more than just an eyesore. They hold our communities back from growing. Expediting the foreclosure process will prevent us from even getting to that point. This legislation is going to help local real estate values as well as improve community safety for our friends and neighbors.”

The bill provides potential changes to summary foreclosure actions to vacant and abandoned properties. House Bill 134 accomplishes this through creating a clear definition for vacant and abandoned properties, making the classification process for these properties easier. The legislation also modifies judicial procedures to expedite the public sale of vacant or abandoned property. Additionally, HB 134 establishes that the final confirmation of sale serves as the transfer of title, which alleviates pressure on sheriffs to produce a deed in a reasonable amount of time.

The changes are meant to help expedite the foreclosure process and restore Ohio’s communities that suffer from an influx of vacant or abandoned properties, especially in metropolitan areas. Leaving houses unoccupied increases crime and the likelihood of other homes falling into disrepair, resulting in reduced value to all neighboring houses. HB 134 would make it easier to sell these parcels quickly and begin the process of rehabilitating and revitalizing these areas.

HB 134 now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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