California enacts law to levy heavy fines for blight

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday forcing owners of foreclosed and vacant homes to maintain the property or face up to a $1,000 fine per day of violation.
The bill, A.B. 2314, is part of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, a slew of new legislation drafted and introduced through state lawmakers with the assistance of California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The latest enacted bill gives local governments the ability to impose up to a $1,000 fine for code violations. It must give owners, including banks, at least 14 days to start fixing the alleged violation and 30 days to complete the correction before issuing the fine.
One of the violations includes “not failing to take action to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in standing water or other conditions that create a public nuisance.” A woman in Studio City, Calif. recently diagnosed with the West Nile virus traced the contraction to mosquitoes breeding in a nearby foreclosure’s neglected swimming pool.
The new bill could be costly for careless owners of these homes. Fannie Mae, for example, owned more than 10,000 REO properties in California as of June 30, according to its latest financial filing.
If an investor or homeowner buys a property that was foreclosed on at any point since Jan. 1, 2008, the local government must give at least 60 days to remedy any violations found since taking title. The law does give room to provide less time “if deemed necessary.”

Read on.

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