A survey by RealtyTrac reports that America is home to 301,874 zombie houses -- houses that have been abandoned by their owners, but not foreclosed upon by the banks. They effectively have no owners, but their erstwhile owners are theoretically on the hook for maintenance and liability. Florida has the largest zombie infestation (90,556!), followed by Illinois and California. Zombie houses are considered a blight because they attract vandalism and crime. In a rational world, neighborhood associations would be able to take these places over and turn them into community centers or shelters or some similar social beneficial purpose. Instead, they're just the subject of unending litigation that will likely only finish when the houses are razed.
Reuters revealed the plight of people who walked away from their homes not realizing that their names remained on the deed and that they were financially liable for taxes and other bills related to the abandoned property.
In some cases, homeowners vacated after receiving a notice from the bank of a planned foreclosure sale, only to find out later the bank never followed through.
Zombie properties can be easy to spot as they deteriorate into neighborhood eyesores and havens for criminal activity.
While Florida leads in volume of zombie properties, Kentucky, with less than 1,000 zombie properties, leads in percentage; zombies represent 54 percent of its total foreclosure inventory, Blomquist said.
Zombie foreclosures: 300,000 'undead' properties stalk ex-owners
(Image: Foreclosure, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from juggernautco's photostream)
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