Call for a Housing Court to Handle Ohio Foreclosure Homes

By: Joseph Smith

Commissioner Greg Hartman of Hamilton County, Ohio has called on the establishment of a housing court that will handle on a full-time capacity the foreclosure homes market. Specifically, Hartman has proposed that the housing court will hold accountable owners of distressed properties and implement rules on building codes.

In Hamilton County, about 50 cases are heard once a week by the lone housing court in the area. The county’s housing court told owners of foreclosure homes and abandoned properties to clean their yards or get rid of paint tainted with lead from the premises.

Hartmann reiterated the need to create a housing court that will work full-time following the increase in the number of foreclosure homes in Ohio.

Hartmann, together with Jeff Berding, councilman of Cincinnati, has been gathering support for an environmental and housing court that will have full-time responsibilities and handle all civil and criminal actions to implement housing, building and health codes.

Both officials suggest that the proposed housing court would exclusively oversee foreclosure homes cases. Currently, foreclosure homes cases are handled by the common pleas magistrate. Hartmann explained that the housing court’s judge would act as housing czar for Hamilton County.

Meanwhile, Berding said that centralizing cases of foreclosure homes would make it easy for a judge to monitor distressed homeowners who are not serious or will not comply with the order to clean their properties.

He explained that centralizing cases would lead to an increase in delinquent tax collection and higher market values in communities with abandoned and vacant homes.

However, before a housing court could be created, the legislature still needs to amend the Revised Code of Ohio by almost two-thirds vote.

Russell Mock, municipal judge at Hamilton County, explained that approximately 90 percent of homeowners who presented themselves on court do not have the financial capacity to repair their foreclosed homes.

Hartmann and Berding hope that the fines and fees that will be collected from violators would financially sustain the housing court.

However, Cincinnati lawyer Bob Newman argued that the money that will be spent to supervise the housing court would be put into better use by helping distressed homeowners who are facing the threat of foreclosure.

He added that what the state needs is more mediators to help homeowners access the federal aid intended to abate the foreclosure crisis.

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Joseph Smith has been educating buyers on the finer points of Ohio Foreclosure Homes purchase at for over four years. Click here to visit and read more advice on finding Foreclosed Homes for Sale.

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