County takes first step in tackling problems with vacant, foreclosed homes and squatters

New ordinance to combat problems with vacant homes

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Kern county Supervisors took the first step Tuesday in dealing with vacant and foreclosed homes posing a nuisance to the community.

Code compliance, community members, the Bakersfield Board of Realtors and County Supervisors discussed ideas on how to curb the problem of squatters and problems associated with vacant and foreclosed properties.

The biggest idea to come from the meeting was a new ordinance.

The primary issue at hand is to find a way to collect information on owners of vacant or foreclosed homes and force them to secure and maintain the properties, possibly through a registration program so there is recourse in case the property becomes a code compliance issue.

They also talked about holding lending banks accountable for foreclosed properties that become a nuisance.

Another idea was to require  property owners to reimburse the county for costs incurred to clean up or repair the property or kick out squatters.

County supervisors asked code compliance to come up with a way to speed up the enforcement process- which currently takes several months.

Everyone ultimately agreed to set up more workshops in the future to discuss the issue.

County supervisors have given county staff two months to draft a new ordinance.

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