Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa creates foreclosed property registry to help city code enforcement

TAMPA — With thousands of homes headed to foreclosure in Tampa, the City Council on Thursday created a registry to force lenders to maintain them.

Vacant, foreclosed properties often become dangerous eyesores with overgrown lawns, broken windows and stagnant swimming pools. They attract crime and contribute to neighborhood blight.

The registry should help curb the problem, said Jake Slater, Tampa's director of code enforcement.

"It's another tool for us to hold the banks and financial institutions accountable," he said.

An ordinance passed unanimously by the City Council requires lenders to register the properties with the city and pay a fee when foreclosure proceedings are started. It also forces financial institutions to maintain and secure the properties.

The amount of the fee, as well as whether the program will be managed by city workers or a private contractor, will be decided in about two months.

Fees could be used to step up code enforcement efforts or clean up neglected properties, said city attorney Chip Fletcher.

Hillsborough County, which established a similar program in November, charges $100 a year to register properties.

City housing officials say about 7,000 properties in Tampa are in some stage of foreclosure. About 1,440 are in banks' hands, and 955 are ready for sale by auction at the courthouse.

Attaching a $100 registration fee to all those properties would add $700,000 to dwindling city coffers.

"It's not an insignificant amount of money, but it's also not an insignificant problem," Fletcher said.

Spencer Kass, owner of Landmarc Realty in West Tampa, urged council members to kill the ordinance.

"The fees will get passed through to borrowers," he said.

And Kass questioned whether it's fair to hold the banks responsible before the foreclosure process is completed.

"I have a real constitutional question about ordering someone to maintain a property when they don't own the property," he said.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa creates foreclosed property registry to help city code enforcement 12/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 12:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Next up in Bucs renovations? A $20 million indoor practice facility


    Renderings of the Bucs' new indoor practice facility (Courtesy of the Bucs)
  2. Want to feel old? It's been 20 years since the first 'Harry Potter' was published


    He was so cute: Blond hair, blue eyes and a killer smile. He was dressed in a black robe with a fake scar on his forehead and regaling our fifth-grade class with his book report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a 10-year-old with only the most sophisticated of tastes (give me a Baby-Sitters Club any day), …

    An auctioneer holds a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" containing annotations and illustrations by author J.K. Rowling. The tale has turned 20,  published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. (Associated Press [2013])
  3. Dunedin selects Jennifer Bramley as its next city manager

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — In a unanimous vote Monday, the City Commission chose Jennifer Bramley as the next city manager.

    Jennifer Bramley, 52, was selected Monday as Dunedin's new city manager. She currently works as deputy city manager for the city of Coral Springs. [Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bramley]
  4. People leave the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, as justices issued their final rulings for the term. The high court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. [AP photo]
  5. Lightning re-signs Andrej Sustr to one-year, $1.95 million deal


    The Lightning locked up another piece of its blueline Monday, re-signing defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $1.95 million deal.

    Andrej Sustr 14 points in 80 games last season, a minus-10.