YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are countless abandoned properties in the Mahoning Valley that are eyesores and safety concerns for neighbors.
The foreclosure process on abandoned homes can take two years, but House Bill 390 cuts that time by 18 months. The bill went into law on Wednesday, meaning that the private market can move these properties a lot faster.
One of those properties, 2203 Oakdale Drive in Warren, was demolished Wednesday. It’s a sight that Carolyn Maher was happy to see.
“The roof was in bad condition, so you didn’t know if it was going to fall at anytime,” she said.
The Trumbull County Land Bank owns the abandoned home. The Land Bank is managed by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.
Maher says the house has been empty for the past four to five years. It has been on the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership’s demolition list, which still has 14 houses left.
“We’ve made significant headway on demolition, but we still have quite a bit to go, and we’re working through a larger grant of $11.5 million for demolition right now, but those properties do need to be vacant. They do need to be owned by the Land Bank,” said Lisa Ramsey, assistant director of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.
The Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership says there around 1,500 vacant properties in the Warren. Most of the homes are on the private market.
If the property is not tax delinquent or owned by the Land Bank, the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership can’t take action.
Property owners have protection under the Ohio law, and certain factors have to be met before foreclosure can start.
Maher thinks the change is a good thing.
“It helps our neighborhoods. It helps the economy because people say, ‘Hey, this is not so bad now,'” she said.
The Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership says many vacant homes are a source for crime and that ultimately hurts property values in a neighborhood. It has torn down around 250 homes and flipped around 75.