Cincinnati Council is likely to approve an ordinance Wednesday expanding a program that requires banks to register their foreclosed properties with the city. It has been operating as a pilot effort in five city neighborhoods.
Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld, who proposed the registry a couple of years ago, said it is showing good results.
“We’ve seen hundreds of houses be stabilized or their conditions improve, which means the cost of tens of thousands of dollars in avoided lost property values to citizens,” Sittenfeld said. “It holds major lenders accountable. We’ve heard from every neighborhood across the city, expand this from the pilot neighborhoods to all 52.”
The pilot targeted College Hill, Madisonville, East Price Hill, Westwood and West Price Hill. 60 percent of the city's foreclosed homes are located in those neighborhoods.
City officials said earlier this week they will be able to handle the expanded program without hiring any additional staff.
“From a capacity standpoint, the city is going to be able to do this,” Sittenfeld said. “This is actually a self-sustaining program. It might even be a net revenue generator for the city.”
Council Member Kevin Flynn expressed some concerns about the registry during a committee meeting this week. He wanted additional information from city lawyers on whether banks could be held responsible for properties while in the foreclosure process. He said the institutions do not own the properties while a court case is pending, and he questioned how the banks could be responsible for property maintenance. Flynn abstained when a vote was taken on the issue.