We have all thought about it. Don’t lie, some of us even started looking. Some of us actually put offers in. Even if we didn’t we know people that have tried or actually accomplished the task of Rehabbing a home that has been abandoned, neglected, and or damaged. In southern California, there are tons to choose from. In the city of San Bernardino, there are more than most other cities. Several factors have contributed. High crime rates, high foreclosure rates, high homelessness, and several other obvious reasons that homes will be empty and damaged. What does the city do to help with this issue? Well, in the past they have issued fines to the owners, put liens on properties, and assessed several code violations for the next owner. These are all revenue generators for the city, but how do they actually help? There are ways that the local government is trying to help.
A program through the city of San Bernardino called the R.E.N.U. program is a great idea that the city is actually putting into action. The city completed the first project through R.E.N.U. (Receivership Empowering Neighborhood Upkeep) in April 2015, and the City Attorney’s Office is seeking to expand it. There is no definitive answer on how many properties were in various stages of the program, which involve the court taking control of a property where the owner is unresponsive and appointing a receiver to fix it up. Money from the sale of the property is then used to reimburse the receiver, the city, and others involved in the process, so that there is no cost to the city.
How does the city decide which of the properties to help? Properties are chosen from various neighborhoods throughout the city, they aren’t chosen within close proximity to others. The point being, to spread the word that the city is trying to rectify a serious problem San Bernardino faces. From June 2011 to August 2015, the city issued 14 notices and several times secured a property where the R.E.N.U. program was employed. It went into foreclosure and became bank-owned so the city decided to choose it for rehab. The property must first, obviously, be in need of repairs. It isn’t known if the repairs must have a minimum dollar amount, or if a property simply needs a good trash-out and cleaning but either way, it helps. The property must have also not received any interest from the owner. So if a property has several notices served and the owner has not responded, the property obviously is in a serious stage of neglect.
This program can help put quality, rehabbed homes on the market for potential buyers. Will sellers reluctant to sell in these months, having quality properties on the market can help stimulate the local market and keep prices stable. It believe that this program is a great idea and I have discussed in the past how even a single transaction stimulates the local employment in a positive way. I hope they expand this program and other cities take action. Having several abandoned homes in a city causes crime to stay high, drug use, pest issues, and fire hazards. I hope San Bernardino not just keeps it up, but blows it up! This program can help a lot of people in the city.