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News From Indiana General Assembly: SB 415 And Residential-Related Settlement Conferences

Our State's legislative session is in progress.  One bill of note is SB 415 - Vacant and Abandoned Housing.  Here's its digest: 

Provides that a county, city, or town fiscal body may adopt an ordinance to establish a deduction period for rehabilitated property that has also been determined to be abandoned or vacant. Specifies that there must be delinquent property taxes or special assessments on real property before it may be sold by the county treasurer as abandoned or vacant property. Provides that an order of a local building standards hearing authority that real property is abandoned or vacant and nonpayment of the associated penalty permits the executive of the county, city, or town to vacant and abandoned housing and mortgage servicing. Specifies that there must be delinquent property taxes or special assessments on real property before it may be sold by the county treasurer as abandoned or vacant property. Specifies that the county treasurer and not the county auditor is to auction abandoned or vacant property. Eliminates the concept of redemption after sale regarding abandoned or vacant property to be sold by the county treasurer. Provides that the county, city, or town executive that certifies a property as abandoned or vacant has an option to take ownership of the property if the minimum bid is not received. Separates out several provisions concerning abandoned and vacant property sales from delinquent tax sales and makes related changes. Provides that a hearing authority may use the same standards that are used by a court in finding that real property is abandoned or vacant for purposes of selling the real property at an abandoned and vacant property sale. Permits a county, city, or town executive to use the courts instead of a hearing authority for the determination that a property is abandoned or vacant. Prohibits owners of property that was found to be vacant or abandoned in any county, from buying property at a tax sale, and requires the attorney general to include these owners on the tax sale blight registry. Provides for the following: (1) Removal of properties not suitable for tax sale from the tax sale list. (2) A redemption period of 120 days from the date of the tax sale from which the property was removed. (3) Notice of removal of property from the tax sale list. Eliminates a provision that permitted the county auditor to be the only signer of a sales disclosure form in the case of a tax sale because the sale disclosure form is not required for a tax sale. Adds a requirement to issue a judgment when property is found to be abandoned. Adds conditions under which a property may be determined to be abandoned. Provides that the statute concerning foreclosure prevention agreements does not apply to a mortgage servicer subject to certain federal regulations adopted under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

I wrote about changes to the vacant and abandoned housing laws back in 2010. 

Evidently one of the potential controversies surrounding the 2015 bill is an amendment in committee with language that addresses the duplicative requirements in the Dodd-Frank Act and Indiana Code as it pertains to settlement conferences and loss mitigation.  Some say the amendment may do away with all or portions of the rules enacted in 2009 related to mandatory settlement conferences for residential foreclosures.  (I touched on that here.)  The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne wrote about the issue over the weekend in a pro-borrower story:  link.  The bill has been referred to the House Local Government Committee.

 

 

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