The collapse of Big Shitpile, aka the housing fraud that occurred between 2000 – 2007 give or take, has had many horrid effects: massive unemployment, millions of households saddled with the worst kind of debt, people losing their homes, the destruction of communities, not to mention the utter disregard and disdain for the basic rule of law at every level of the housing market. All that said (and that’s some pretty awful shit, isn’t it?), Big Shitpile is also making itself felt in small ways as well, such as sidewalk maintenance (boldface mine):
…A half-mile away, a three-apartment building in foreclosure at 794 Freeman Street has been issued tickets 23 times for ice so thick that one resident said it was like living in Alaska. Most of the tickets named Bank of New York Mellon as the responsible party. But Kevin Heine, a spokesman for the bank, said that it was a trustee for mortgage-backed securities, which are created when mortgages, including the one for this property, are pooled and placed in a trust for investors, and has only a limited administrative role that does not include maintaining the property.
Mr. Heine added that if the bank had received any tickets, it would have forwarded them to Bank of America, the company actually responsible for maintaining the property until January, when it was sold, according to records. A Bank of America spokesman said it was looking into the matter and would take of care of any snow removal, or outstanding tickets, if it was in fact responsible.
In cases where such issues have yet to be sorted out, some residents say they have no choice but to clean up their neighbors’ messes because they do not want anyone to fall.
When the governments of record, where the property title exchanges are supposed to be recorded in writing, can’t even establish who is the owner of a property, we have a serious breakdown of the rule of law. Establishing ownership is a vital government function, both to raise revenue as well as to protect fundamental property rights, and our local governments seem to have some difficulty doing that.
This could be a problem–and not just for the sidewalk.