The drastic rise in the number of foreclosed houses across the city has resulted in homes that are left empty as families are forced to move out. These homes are frequently retaken by banks and large financial and real estate institutions that have little to no connection with the municipality in which they own property making enforcement of the building and sanitary codes very difficult. Furthermore, the homes sit empty for months or years at a time awaiting foreclosure sale; often creating an unattractive public nuisance.
Some homes are in violation of multiple aspects of state and local building codes. These code violations include, among other violations, unoccupied buildings susceptible to vandalism and/or open structures rendering them unsafe and dangerous, unlocked houses, unshoveled snow that renders sidewalks impassable, yards full of litter and trash, overgrown grass and bushes and unsecured swimming pools that are not only a threat to children but become harborages and breeding grounds for rodents and infectious insects.
In an effort to increase mortgage lender accountability and because of the number of foreclosures and the difficulty of tracking down the owner or person responsible for the condition of the property, the City of Boston has passed an ordinance addressing these issues. The ordinance requires all residential property owners, including lenders, trustees and service companies register and properly maintain vacant and/or foreclosing properties. Properties must be maintained in accordance with the relevant sanitary codes, building codes and local regulations concerning external and/or visible maintenance.