In order to maintain vacant properties and the integrity of local neighborhoods, involvement and partnership between municipalities and servicers is imperative.

That is why Safeguard Properties, a field services company that inspects and maintains defaulted and foreclosed properties for banks, mortgage companies, investors and other financial institutions, has reached a partnership with the American Association of Code Enforcement to have training and certification programs with local and national officials who monitor vacant properties.

“Cities across the country have been in the grips of a housing crisis for years, and the need has never been greater for trained and qualified code officers,” said Robert Klein, founder and chairman of Safeguard Properties, Valley View, Ohio. “AACE has been a tireless advocate to support the code enforcement profession, and we are honored to partner with them to help their members meet and maintain their professional certification requirements and to help ease the financial burden of municipalities.”

The training program provides an overview of the best practices relating to property preservation, as well as tools and resources that are promptly available to assist code officials with their day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the integrity of properties in their communities.

Officials who participate in the online program will receive one continuing education unit and can sign up for the training immediately. The webinar content and training materials were developed by the Community Initiatives Department of Safeguard Properties in consultation with code enforcement officials throughout the country.

The program is free for all AACE members.

“The partnership with Safeguard is an invaluable service to our membership,” said Sherri Johnston, president of AACE. “Robert Klein and Safeguard were the first to reach out to the code enforcement community to foster collaboration on behalf of the mortgage industry. Their initiative to create and offer this program for our membership is further demonstration of their commitment to share best practices that benefit code officials, municipalities and the mortgage industry alike.”

During a recent conference call conducted by Klein where approximately 130 code enforcement inspectors, officials and department directors from state, county and local municipalities participated in, they all agreed that there is currently an inability for code enforcement and other government officials to locate the servicer responsible for maintaining issues at a vacant property.

Klein said code enforcement officials are using a number of sources to obtain a servicers contact information including county auditor and recorder offices or websites, public records and foreclosure attorneys. However, he said these findings rarely identify the appropriate and responsible party.

Compliance Connections, founded through a joint venture with Safeguard Properties, features technology that enables parties to find the information needed to efficiently communicate, collaborate, and comply with civic code requirements.

The workflow management system allows municipalities to search for specific properties, upload violations, communicate directly with the servicer and monitor the status and actions to address the issue. The database enhances communication by providing transparency, improving efficiency and expediting compliance.

“The sooner we establish contact, the sooner compliance is achieved and the situation is resolved,” Klein said. “It is time to roll up our sleeves and get working—the more we talk together, the better we will be at finding solutions.”

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