A new study finds that 301,874 "zombie" homes exist in the U.S.-properties where home owners receive foreclosure notices and move out, leaving the home vacant, deteriorating and a target for squatters.
Abandoned foreclosures represent 50 percent or more of the properties in foreclosure in Washington, Indiana, Nevada, and Oregon, according to data by RealtyTrac in the company's first analysis of zombie properties.
Bremerton is attempting to hold the owners of such homes more responsible. According to the Kitsap Sun, the Bremerton Department of Community Development has proposed an ordinance that would require any owner of an abandoned home in the city would have to register the property with the city, ensure its doors and windows are secure, have it inspected once a month and establish a 24-hour emergency contact available when there are problems. Failure to comply could lead to hefty fines.
The state with the highest number of zombie properties is Florida, with 90,556 vacant homes in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. Illinois ranks second with 31,668 zombie properties and California ranks third with 28,821.
In January, Reuters reported a problem with zombie titles - homeowners who received a foreclosure notice and walked away from their home but did not realize their names remained on the deed and they were still financially liable for the property.
In some cases, the banks never ultimately pursued the foreclosure, but the homeowners were unaware of that since they already had moved out.