May 18th, 2016 Brown Bag Lunch Forum: Fast Track Foreclosure Legislation
HOUSE BILL 463 The purpose of this forum is to update housing and community development practitioners on recent legislative proposals by the banking industry to reform Ohio's mortgage foreclosure process.
Matt Rossman is a Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University. He completed his undergraduate degree at Miami University and received his J.D. from New York University. After beginning his career in private practice, Rossman moved to teaching in 2004. At CWRU, Rossman coordinates and co-teaches the Community Development Clinic, through which third-year law students provide corporate counsel and transactional law services to community-based nonprofit organizations and sustainable business ventures in the Cleveland area. He also co-founded and actively participates in the Cleveland Roundtable on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, which meets periodically to discuss important practice related issues in these areas of law. Rossman was the moderator of the Fast-Track Foreclosure Brown Bag Lunch forum. He presented an overview of the program, introduced the panelists, and facilitated discussion after the panelists’ presentations.
Frank Ford is the Senior Policy Advisor for Thriving Communities Institute, an initiative of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Ford greatly contributed to WRLC’s recently accomplished feat of surveying more than 158,000 commercial, industrial and residential parcels of land, and any structures on the, in the City of Cleveland. The survey included information about the vacancy status of structures or empty lots, and the conditions those structures and lots are in. When Ford discovered that HB 463 was in the Ohio House of Representatives just over a month ago, he gathered 71 people and went to Columbus, and, using the Cleveland Property Survey, advocated to make changes to the bill to favor homeowners, neighborhoods and cities instead of predatory private buyers and banks. At the forum, Frank explained the current state of the bill. While its main purpose of fast tracking foreclosures is good, as it shortens the time properties are vacant, the bill contains many aspects that are harmful, including eliminating the 2/3 selling minimum. Ford also presented the impact the Bill, in its current state, will have on neighborhoods and cities. With the current features allowing foreclosed properties to be sold at bargain prices, Ford uses survey data to show that it is more likely that these bargain sales will result in failures.
Gretchen Bowman received her B.A. from the University of Berkeley; her M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and her J.D. from Michigan State. Since 2009, Bowman has been the Client Attorney for Neighborhood Housing Services. As Client Attorney, she is responsible for representing borrowers in all stages of the foreclosure process including mediations, motions for post-judgment relief, and defense against post-judgment evictions. Bowman has been an active advocate for homeowners and borrowers in regards to the fast-track foreclosure legislation in Ohio, HB 463. In her presentation as a panelist, Bowman overviewed the strengths and weaknesses of parts of HB 463 that affect homeowners. One strength is that a municipality can hold a second sheriff’s sale if a vacant property has not been sold in 12 months. However, the bill also has vague language about allowing enforcement of destroyed, stolen, or lost promissory notes in a wider variety of circumstances, which may end up hurting homeowners. Bowman stressed that the positive parts of the bill are a result of the advocacy of herself and other members of the panel.
Gus Frangos received his J.D. from Cleveland Marshal College of Law and began his career in private practice. He was the 13th Ward Cleveland City Councilman for seven years and was then appointed as a Magistrate Judge in the Cleveland Municipal Court. Frangos was the primary drafter of Ohio’s House Bill 294 and S.B. 353 establishing enhanced-capacity County Land Banks, and expedited administrative tax foreclosure policy. Frangos now serves as President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. As a panelist, Frangos presented on how land banks can contribute to fast track foreclosures. While he points out that much of the impediments to speeding up foreclosures are structural and are rooted in Civil Rule and Procedure, land banks could discourage banks from sitting on foreclosed properties by acting as an outlet. Land banks are also better equipped and motivated to evaluate the conditions of foreclosed properties and find responsible buyers.