Keeping Up Property One Owns
Offering assistance to steer foreclosed neighborhoods away from blight is a worthwhile goal, and the collection of initiatives recently announced by Governor Carcieri and Senator Reed seems properly targeted. It does seem, however, that the actual owners of the properties (i.e., banks) get a pass on the whole problem.
Increasing the risk of lending money to homeowners — by increasing the responsibilities of banks should the owners fall aside — could have disagreeable consequences, but I’m not sure why taxpayers should wind up on the hook for other people’s economic transactions. Don’t stagnant and decomposing houses cost banks money over time?
Perhaps banks could contrive some sort of low-income rental system for maintenance purposes, or maybe the state could develop a rent-maintain-and-fix program.