Vacant and foreclosed properties in Madison are likely to get a facelift in coming months.

The City Council recently approved an ordinance to require financial institutions to inspect, secure and maintain abandoned properties. 

The measure will require banks, lenders and other financial institutions to register a property with the city when the property is foreclosed and vacant, Kyle Bunnow, housing inspection supervisor for the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development, said in an email to The Badger Herald. It was passed unanimously by all members of the city committee before moving to the city council, he said. 

Financial institutions will be held responsible for maintaining the property, Bunnow said. This includes securing a safe property, removing trash, tending to the lawn and clearing sidewalks in winter, he added.

According to the ordinance, securing abandoned properties requires boarding or locking entries of buildings such as windows, doors and gates. Financial institutions must also perform inspections of abandoned properties, the ordinance said.

Ald. Anita Weier, District 18, said financial institutions that do not follow the ordinance would be fined. Weier said she introduced the ordinance because she discovered some financial institutions were not maintaining abandoned properties and were allowing buildings to deteriorate.

According to studies released by the Woodstock Institute based in Chicago, foreclosed homes have decreased both property values and public safety in surrounding areas.


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