Banks Now More Accountable for Vacant Properties

Banks and other financial institutions now have more responsibility as it pertains to foreclosed homes on their books under legislation passed Thursday by Chicago's City Council.

"When a home is foreclosed on, every other home on that block loses around $7,000 in value," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Tax payers often carry a large financial burden because of vacant properties across Chicago, Emanuel said.

The measure passed unanimously.  Not surprisingly, it was opposed by many financial institutions.

Last year alone, vacant properties cost the city $15 million. Upkeep on almost 2,000 vacant properties and demolishing 345 vacant garages cost the city $1.8 million. 

The banks will now be called upon to step up to the plate and take responsibility for the maintenance of foreclosed properties.

The question is will the banks actually put in the work and money?

"A week from now we are sitting down with the financial institutions who have finally come forward with ideas of how to address the issue of foreclosed properties," the mayor said in an effort to assure tax payers that they will hopefully be carrying far less of a burden due  to vacant properties. 

Emanuel said he hopes to find a "common strategy" between the neighborhoods, community groups and financial institutions when dealing with vacant properties. 

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