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Proposed changes to Michigan’s home foreclosure laws allow unannounced inspections

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Housing advocates are asking Governor Rick Snyder to veto a package of billsthat would change home foreclosure rules.

Right now, a homeowner has six months from the time a home is foreclosed to get it back. Under the legislation, the person or bank who buys the house at auction could inspect the home during that period. If they find certain problems – a boarded up window, trash piling up the yard, or a missing furnace, for example – that redemption window would close.

The idea is to stop homeowners going through foreclosure from damaging the home.

“That’s an assumption and the truth is we don’t see that happening nearly as often as what we see happening after a home is abandoned or goes back to a bank,” said Neeta Delaney, director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force. She says the authority is too broad.

“In fact I would say if someone’s showing up at somebody’s doorstep unannounced, if anything it might exacerbate the problem and drive a homeowner to want to damage a home, “Delany said.

Delaney says more often homes are damaged after they’re abandoned or bought back by a bank.

“I don’t know of any state in the country that gives banks the authority to do interior inspections on a home, especially unannounced and with no limits,” Delany said.

The bill’s supporters say critics' fears are overblown.  

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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