Hillsborough to study ways to register foreclosed properties

03/04/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Florida has been hit nearly as bad as anyplace in the country in terms of the number of foreclosures. In Hillsborough County alone, there were more than 20,000 foreclosures in 2008, a 52 percent increase from the previous year.

As a way to address the problems that abandoned homes can create in neighborhoods, the Hillsborough County Commission today directed its legal staff to research putting together what Commission Chair Ken Hagen calls a mortgage registration program.

Hagen said the key ingredient would involve a local person that the community and code enforcement could work with.

Commissioner Rose Ferlita praised Hagen’s idea.

County Attorney Renee Lee said there are four pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the state legislature this year on this subject.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe also endorsed the idea, but said he worried about who would manage the program and its costs.

Commissioner Kevin White said he hoped the plan could be self-sustaining and could pay for itself. He also said it would give direction to code enforcement officials about who to contact for any violations. White said right now, in many cases, the county ends up paying for overgrown properties.

The County Attorney will work with Code Enforcement and the board will discuss the issue again in 45 days.

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