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City passes ordinance to get lenders to upkeep properties

City passes ordinance to get lenders to upkeep properties

By Marco Villarreal. CREATED Dec 7, 2011

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - The city council has approved a new ordinance requiring lenders to take care of the properties they're holding in foreclosure or face heavy penalties.

"Right now we have another crisis. Our neighborhoods are falling into disrepair and blight. We're creating opportunities for bad guys to do bad things," says city councilman Steve Ross who represents Ward 6.

From this point on lenders are required to register vacant properties with the city at a cost of $200 per house. If a home is found with broken fixtures, trash, or messy yards, the city will give the lender ten days to fix the problem. If not misdemeanor charges could follow with penalties of fines or imprisonment for bank officials.

"They treated us with disrespect. They treated the citizens with disrespect, and so we said we've got to do something, because our job is to protect the citizens. and that's why we have done this," says councilwoman Lois Tarkanian who represents Ward 1.

But the Nevada Bankers Association seems to think they'll run into problems if lenders have to take care of homes before officially gaining ownership.

"That's what makes it doubly difficult, because we don't have legal rights. We don't have an ownership right in that property so you have to be very careful about trespassing," says president Bill Uffelman.

"They don't have to register the property until they get the notice of default, whether there's someone in there or not. It matters not to us. We want that property maintained," says Ross.

The City of Las Vegas says this move now has the attention of other cities and the county. If it works here, it could work for them.