Foreclosed and vacant properties in Homewood will now be part of an online registry.
The village board passed an ordinance at its Nov. 13 meeting to work with Florida-based Prochamps. The firm works with towns to create a database of information that can be used to communicate with the lenders and owners of vacant properties. That contact information is often difficult to find.
This helps municipalities notify lenders and owners when action is needed to maintain their property, to protect the public and minimize the issues a vacant property may cause the surrounding neighborhood. The database also provides a method for officials to identify and regulate foreclosed properties within the village.
Prochamps searches court records twice daily and records all foreclosures filed.
The ordinance also dictates that owners must inspect properties in default every 30 days. Lenders and owners have to register their property within 10 days of mortgage default or vacancy and contact information must be provided.
Properties need to be maintained and kept up to code, including being free from trash and graffiti. Windows, doors and gates must be secured to prevent children from getting in. Any broken entrances or windows need to be repaired.
A property manager must be designated to keep the property in compliance.
Lenders and owners will pay a semi-annual registration fee of $300 per property, $100 of which will go to Prochamps.
The village’s most recent data from 2014 shows 265 foreclosures and 137 vacancies in Homewood, but Village Manager Jim Marino acknowledged in a memo to the board that there are likely more than that. Prochamps data shows 324 active foreclosures and 124 potential foreclosures in the village.
Several other towns in the area use Prochamps, including South Holland, Calumet Park, Lynwood, West Chicago, Hanover Park, Prospect Heights and Evergreen Park.
The board also approved an ordinance amending the village code for mobile homes to adopt the state’s Mobile Home Park Act.
The amendment requires anyone planning to operate a mobile home park to first apply for a license with the village, pay an annual fee of $500 and maintain the streets and driveways within the park.