In an effort to prevent zombie homes – vacant or abandoned residential properties – Ohio has passed legislation that enacts a fast-track process for mortgage foreclosures, reports HousingWire staffer Kelsey Ramirez.

Currently, homes in Ohio can sit vacant for at least two years due to existing foreclosure requirements. The new law will accelerate the foreclosure process to as little as six months at times. This allows the mortgage servicer to take possession of the property before it deteriorates, and increases the likelihood that it can be rehabilitated and sold.

The property must show evidence that the loan is in default, as well as “clear and convincing evidence” that the property is abandoned. Some of this evidence could include disconnection of utilities, boarded up windows and entrances, vandalism, physical destruction or deterioration of the property or substantiation that neither an owner nor tenant appears to be residing in the property at the time of an inspection of the property by a public official or the mortgagee.

“Ohio has now put itself ahead of the national curve in fighting community blight,” said Robert Klein, founder and chairman of Cleveland-based Community Blight Solutions, which has worked with legislators for three years to enact a fast-track foreclosure process.

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