Click here to view a recording of the Zombie Homes webinar.
On Thursday, DS News and sponsor Altisource Field Services presented an exclusive, complimentary webinar entitled “Zombie Homes—Challenges and Guidance.” This event united subject matter experts to discuss the unique challenges posed by zombie homes, ranging from servicer responsibilities, legal challenges, and the property preservation demands involved with maintaining due diligence for these properties that are often caught in a sort of legal limbo.
Zombie homes are vacant properties caught in the midst of the foreclosure process, but which are not yet under the control of the servicer or noteholder. They are often created as a result of well-meaning legislators and regulators who are attempting to help borrowers by extending foreclosure processes. In judicial foreclosure states, the foreclosure process can drag on for more than 1,000 days, during which the property may be uninhabited and falling into disrepair, posing safety risks as well as driving down local property values. Unfortunately, the process of dealing with zombie properties is complicated by statutes and regulations that vary wildly even when it comes to the basic definition of what constitutes a vacant or abandoned property in the first place.
The DS News “Zombie Homes—Challenges and Guidance” webinar featured presentations and insights from moderator Rick Sharga, EVP, Carrington Mortgage Holdings; Dawn Adams, SVP, Default Servicing, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing; Stephen Hladik, Partner, Hladik, Onorato & Federman; and Timothy Meyer, SVP of Field Services, Altisource.
After a quick rundown of the current state of zombie properties, which are most prevalent in states such as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio, moderator Rick Sharga handed things off to Dawn Adams from Roundpoint. She delved into the challenges presented by the lack of standardized definitions as to what constitutes a zombie property, and how expedited foreclosures can help combat the zombie properties problem.
From there, Stephen Hladik walked attendees through the complex web of legal challenges presented by zombie homes, and how some states such as Pennsylvania are passing new legislation to aid in the fight against these abandoned properties.
Finally, Altisource’s Timothy Meyer covered the property preservation angle, discussing inspections, repairs, compliance, and complaint resolution, as well as highlighting how field servicers should partner with local governments to combat urban blight.