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The Fight Against Blight in Maryland

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a fast-track foreclosure law which would expedite the foreclosure process with the intent to reduce community blight, following the footsteps of a similar bill in Ohio.

"Blight caused by vacant properties is a serious problem in certain Maryland communities," said Delegate Marvin Holmes, sponsor of the house bill. "The longer properties remain vacant–the greater the chance problems will occur, including vandalism, crime and lower property values."

This bill could be the push other states need to move forward with their own fast track foreclosure bills.

“Vacant and abandoned properties are a community crisis of national proportion,” said Five Star [1] President and CEO Ed Delgado. “The bills introduced in Ohio and Maryland provide other states the needed incentive to make progress towards ensuring that these magnets for crime and drugs will be quickly rehabilitated and promote the safety and stability of neighborhoods across the nation.”

Robert Klein, Founder and Chairman of Community Blight Solutions [2], has been a leading advocate of the bill. We spoke with Klein on the impact of this bill in the fight against community blight in states and communities across the country.

“It’s very significant,” said Klein. “Both the Ohio bill and the Maryland bill passed unanimously, not many bills pass unanimously. This bill was debated quite a bit by the Maryland legislators, and they all came to the conclusion that having a property vacant and abandoned for two years is the wrong thing for community blight. So now we’re seeing a number other states looking at it closely and considering it, like New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.”

What Klein notes is the more proactive approach states are taking toward the problem of community blight.

“I feel like we’re finally reaching a stage where the industry and communities and states are looking at the whole community blight and properties sitting out there with a more proactive approach,” said Klein. “Everything has been reactive, the property has already been vandalized, the property has already caused community blight. I think this fast track of vacant and abandoned properties is the first step in being a proactive approach, to not allow the property to become a community blight.”