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The Sound of Ideas

New Disincentive for Negligent Landowners

Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010

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What if the house next to yours was vacant, owned by some faceless out-of-town landlord, and going to pot? What recourse would you have if your property lost value as a result? On Thursday's Sound of Ideas, we'll talk about Cleveland Judge Ray Pianka's plan to allow neighbors to seek restitution for damages. Is the judge innovative or is he moving into activist territory? And what other weapons are available, here and elsewhere, to keep neighborhoods from turning into slums? Join us for the discussion at 9:00 this morning on 90.3.

Tags

Economy, Facing the Mortgage Crisis, Government/Politics, Other, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

Guests

Jim Rokakis, Cuyahoga County Treasurer
Anthony Brancatelli, Cleveland City Council, Ward 12
Frank S. Alexander, law professor, Emory University

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judith 9:28 AM 8/5/10

the house next door was left in limbo for 5 years because the bank stalled on the paperwork and so while the owner lost his home, he was still responsible. I knew living next to an empty house made mine harder to sell, but then a man bought it, fixed it up as cheaply as possible and rented it first to a family and now to 4 young men.

The swearing and screaming - whether angry or happy - keeps me up at all hours when the windows are open. 5 or 6 cars are always in the driveway because one of them collects and works on cars. When i complained to one of the young men about the noise, he said hey it could be worse - i don’t do drugs.  When i complained to the landlord he said he had made a big investment and needed to keep the house full.

This is a kind of damage i don’t hear about on the radio very often - this house has changed the look and sound of our neighborhood, and being right next door to it makes my property much less attractive to any buyer - certainly any family.  It is the landlord who chooses my neighbors for me & now it is clear to anyone that what his property does to the rest of us is the least of his concerns.

Elizabeth Hollis 9:32 AM 8/5/10

I live next to a property that is owned by a non-profit and they have just let it sit and decay.  It is a haven for raccoons and drug dealers.  This same non-profit is buying even more properties around me and I suspect those will just sit there too.  And they don’t even pay taxes.

So its not just out-of-towners victimizing our city

judith 9:56 AM 8/5/10

just a follow up that i know won’t make it to the air.  First - i am in Cleveland Heights, not Cleveland.

More importantly - the point i was trying to make is that the LANDLORD chooses my neighbors and doesn’t live here, so doesn’t care what he does to us.

when the boys move on, he could rent it to someone worse.
i never understood why owners hated rental properties when i was a renter, cause i was a good neighbor then, too.

He and the renters have made it clear they know the law & how little i can actually do. They are very similar - which is the whole problem.

mike 10:10 AM 8/5/10

I am president of a contracting company in Cleveland Hts. I live in the city. I am very active in restoring home, etc. I am, in short, on the front lines. What I just heard on this show makes me ill. Zack calls about a foreclosure problem and is told that this problem can be sold thru some new ‘fast track’ process that will ONLY take 12-18 months!!! That’s the fast track??
Catherine calls about some rowdy neighbors and the panel proceeds to share stories about working on “The Hades” desk.... ha ha..... basically Catherine is told to ‘live with it’
Then another person calls about some Land contract issue....and is told to contact the Attorney General’s office in Columbus?! 

And finally...... the icing on the proverbial cake.... community involvement, neighbors coming together to ‘mow the lawn’ or ‘find a good tenant’.... does anyone ask what is wrong with this particular picture!!!

How about the city doing this for a change.!!!!

Hey, does anybody work here??? You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Judge is part of the Solution. You guys are part of the problem.

I have a management saying in my company, our customers are NOT expected to be the foreman!! We are the foreman. We solve the problem. The two guys on this panel are all saying the same thing… you want this problem solved...you fix it… you make the call to this person or that.

And if you want some money for some staff.... let me give you a few tips.

1) How about FINING Catherine’s low life neighbors. Bingo, there’s some fast cash. If they act up again...boom.... more money.

2) How about levying some big fines like the judge.... bingo… there’s some more cash for staff.

Residents want to know simply what is the city doing about some crackhead next door, some absentee landlord, etc.

MAKE HOUSING AND QUALITY OF LIFE A PRIORITY.!!!! This is your job. Don’t give us excuses or stories, etc. Just tell us what YOU are doing about this!

Michele in Cleveland 10:28 AM 8/5/10

Two comments: P.O.S. inspections and the escrow accounts required by the municipalities are part of the reason so many bank owned properties sit on the market in places like East Cleveland, Cleveland Hts., Maple Hts. and Euclid. The bulk buyers aside, distressed properties turn around quicker in Cleveland than similar properties in areas with P.O.S. inspections.

We are all suffering from what has happened with the City of Cleveland’s Predatory Lending Ordinance of the early 2000’s. It had the unintended consequence of chasing away many of the more scrupulous lenders. This left a void filled by Wall Street schisters. I fear the populist actions being taken by the housing court could also have unforseen negative consequences. I have a very uneasy feeling about this. These issues need to be addressed by the state legislature and not judicial fiat. It is incomprehensible that so many elected officials blindly jump on this band wagon without thinking through the prospect of pitting neighbor vs neighbor. I do not see how this form of legal action can be confined to a certain class of home owner.

Yvonne Sanderson 10:40 AM 8/5/10

Thank you WCPN for addressing this issue, (our renewal check is in the mail :)

foreclosed property adjacent to ours in So. Euclid (1200 Winston), we and other adjacent neighbor have mowed lawn, cut weeds, collected trash, city of SE has mowed.

How can we help our city, that is working on so many fronts to be pro-active in this unprecedented housing crisis, a louder more emphatic case to Fannie Mae?

And we know, our story is only one of thousands across Cuyahoga County, and the country - do your sources feel there a way to build on and focus our strength in numbers?

If you’d like to hear our assessment of the urgency… please read on,

Current occupants have been nuisance and disturbance issue for 15+ months,

living rent free at invitation of owners who defaulted, Fannie Mae took over property in Apr, apparently gave these occupants 90 days, which are now over, and they remain; city is in constant contact they tell us, and Fannie Mae hasn’t moved to close the property or evict the tenants (we now hear offering a ‘cash for keys’ - giving them more time, and causing neighbor anger to rise precipitously),

who rather than being a plus by occupying the home,

are a destabilizing factor due to teen drug and alcohol use, evidence found in garage by neighbors and the police, curfew breaking, noise, and a constant stream of different teens unrelated to the four daughters, their mother, and grandmother who live in this bungalow. We have heard teens either are foster children or teen runaways - rumors only.

As far as we can see,

the mother leaves her children alone or with the grandmother, who even when in the home, has allowed children and teens, from 5 to 15+, outside, blocking traffic in person and in cars, playing music, a five year old getting in and out of car/s in the street, daytime and after 10pm - and on and on.

This house happens to be on a corner and so is highly visible,

and is contributing to growing neighbors’ fear for personal and property safety and concern about the health of our city and expressing desires to put their own homes up for sale since it seems, despite all our efforts to get involved in communicating with the city, the police, and the city putting pressure on lenders, that nothing more can be done until Fannie Mae physically closes the property and evicts the current occupants.

Nerves are frayed, and those of us closest to the property literally are losing sleep over this situation.

Thank you,

Yvonne & Mark Sanderson
4078 Elmwood Road
South Euclid, OH 44121
216-382-8876 h.
23-year resident

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