Recently, Connecticut streamlined the foreclosure process for vacant and abandoned properties. Read on to learn more about how a foreclosure can be expedited for empty homes in Connecticut and why this could have a beneficial effect for lenders, borrowers, and neighborhoods alike.
(To learn about other Connecticut laws affecting foreclosure, visit our Connecticut Foreclosure Law Center.)
Fast-Tracking Foreclosures of Abandoned Properties
Connecticut enacted House Bill 6355 on June 18, 2013, which, among other things, makes it easier to foreclose on properties that are not occupied by a borrower, tenant, or other occupant.
In Connecticut, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in state court. (To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court?)
The lender initiates the foreclosure by filing a complaint and having it served on the borrowers, along with a summons to appear in court. (Learn more about the Connecticut foreclosure process.)
How Foreclosures Are Fast-Tracked
To fast track the foreclosure process, the lender files a motion with the court. The lender must show by clear and convincing evidence that the property that is the subject of the foreclosure action is vacant and at least three of the following conditions exist.
- Neighbors, delivery persons, or government employees state that the property is vacant and abandoned.
- The windows or entrances to the property are boarded up or closed off or multiple windows are damaged, broken, or unrepaired.
- The doors that provide access to the property are smashed through, broken off, unhinged, or continuously unlocked.
- There is risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the public or any adjoining or adjacent property owners due to acts of vandalism, loitering, criminal conduct, or the physical destruction of the property.
- A municipal authority has declared the property to be unfit for occupancy and ordered it to remain vacant and unoccupied.
- The borrower secured or winterized the property due to the property being deemed vacant and unprotected or in danger of freezing.
- The borrower or a tenant has provided a written statement expressing the clear intent of all occupants to abandon the property.
However, the following types of property are not considered abandoned for the purposes of this law.
- Secured buildings that are occupied on a seasonal basis.
- Secured buildings that are the subject of a probate action to quiet title or other ownership dispute.
- Properties that are undergoing construction, renovation, or rehabilitation that are proceeding diligently toward completion, and are in compliance with all applicable ordinances, codes, regulations, and statutes.
The law went into effect July 15, 2013.
Faster Foreclosures of Abandoned Properties Benefits Neighborhoods
Connecticut’s goal in allowing for expedited foreclosure of abandoned properties is to reduce blight.
When properties are abandoned, a lengthy foreclosure process ultimately harms the neighborhood. Vacant homes quickly start to show obvious signs of neglect. The lawn doesn’t get cut, litter begins to pile up, and the home often falls into disrepair. Abandoned homes are also susceptible to vandalism, squatters, and crime. This drags down the value of the property itself, as well as of the entire neighborhood.
Speeding up the foreclosure process for abandoned properties:
- allows the lenders to obtain title to the properties faster
- preserves more of the home’s value, and
- gets the property on the market quicker so a new owner can purchase the property.
Faster Foreclosures Benefit Homeowners
Homeowners won't become the victim of a zombie foreclosure if the lender completes the process promptly. (To learn more about zombie foreclosures and the harmful effects they can have on homeowners, see Zombie Foreclosures.)
For More Information
To read more about House Bill 6355 (including the text of the bill and the bill's history), go to www.cga.ct.gov and enter “6355” in the search box at the top of the webpage.
To learn about options for dealing with foreclosure, visit Nolo's Foreclosure section.