Foreclosure and Crime
Foreclosures go hand-in-hand with plummeting home values, as abandoned homes are ripe for random acts of vandalism. Stripping vacant foreclosure homes of their fixtures, plumbing pipes, windows and wiring can be profitable pursuit in cities and neighborhoods where layoffs and repo’s are widespread. Squatters also sometimes break into abandoned foreclosure homes, and where dried-out lawns and weeds and can be a fire hazard.
Some of the vandalism is the handiwork of the homeowners themselves, who, upset, deface their own residences when they know they are going to lose them. By ripping out appliances, electrical, and plumbing as they are being displaced, these homeowners trash their homes in frustration. Some take everything out of their foreclosure property, such as fixtures, fans, and even cabinets, while leaving trash behind.
Attempting to mitigate foreclosure blight, some local governments have levied fines of up to $1,000 per day against banks and lenders who fail to maintain foreclosed properties. The challenges of rising foreclosures are significant, and the nature of the problem varies by location. Be sure to be on the look-out for blight before you purchase a home in a neighborhood with a high percentage foreclosed houses.