The Ohio House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 463, legislation aimed at speeding up the foreclosure process of vacant and abandoned properties.
On average, completing the entire foreclosure process in Ohio takes nearly 18 months, during which time those properties deteriorate, become more susceptible to vandalism and decrease in value. These problems were multiplied during the recent foreclosure crisis, which affected thousands of properties and lead, in some cases, to blighted neighborhoods and communities throughout Ohio.
“Expediting the foreclosure process will benefit both the safety and the property values of those Ohioans who are in neighboring areas of abandoned homes,” Rep. Anielski said. “The legislation will improve the quality of life for Ohioans all across the state.”
House Bill 463 establishes a process to fast-track mortgage foreclosure actions on vacant and abandoned properties in the spirit of balancing the interests of lenders and homeowners. One way in which the process will be expedited is by giving judgment creditors the right to ask the Court to use a “private selling officer” rather than the county sheriff. A private selling officer (e.g. auctioneer or real estate broker) would work with the sheriff to conduct the sale, helping alleviate delays in the sale and deed recording process. By utilizing the more than 3,000 auctioneers and 1,700 licensed title insurance agents in Ohio, the bill introduces a private-sector option in the foreclosure process.
It also creates criminal mischief liability for homeowners who destroy their own property after being served with a summons or complaint in a mortgage foreclosure action. This provision is intended to deter those upset with the foreclosure process from damaging their own property, as well as maintain the safety of the properties for future bidding.
House Bill 463 now awaits consideration by the Ohio Senate.

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