Letter: Mortgagee Has Duty To Maintain The Property

A mortgagee is usually a bank that has a lien on real estate to secure the debt owed to the bank by the homeowner. Assume the following facts: your neighbor has moved out of his house and has stopped paying on his mortgage. The property is in shambles; living room chairs are sitting in the yard, the grass is a foot high and there is trash everywhere you look. What do you do?

If you live in Royal Palm Beach, call the zoning officer or call Mayor Matty Mattioli if you want fast action. According to the municipal ordinance, the bank is responsible for the property if it has served a notice of default or foreclosure. Sec. 6-197 of the code requires the bank to register with the code enforcement officer or designee and “perform an inspection at least once a month of the property that is the security for the mortgage.”

Sec. 6-198 requires, in part, that, “Front, side and rear yard landscaping shall be maintained in accordance with the village’s code of ordinances… Failure of the mortgagee and/or property owner of record to properly maintain the property subject to this division shall be deemed a violation of this code.” At any rate the fines assessed might help finance your government to the tune of $500 per day.

Set aside the question as to whether the municipality has the authority to assess a penalty against the bank; next time you think about cutting the grass of the abandoned house next door to you, or picking up the trash, make the call instead and let Mayor Matty take care of it.

Frank Morelli, Wellington


  1. The most important, and usually the most expensive investment, families and others make is in their homes. Be sure to keep up the appearance of your home-inside and outside. No one wants to move in a neighborhood of unkept homes. Cities, Villages, Towns which do not monitor violators will see their property values decline. And that personal investment people and families make will also decline.

    Chronic violators need to $everely reprimanded by their communities.

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