Agents Use 'Cash for Keys' to Stem Owner Vandalism

Foreclosed properties bear marks of parting shots
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2008 10:23 AM CDT
Prospective buyer Marcia Coleman takes a last look at the home she just viewed during the Foreclosure Bus Tour in Orlando, Fla., Saturday March 15, 2008.   (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)
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(Newser) – Banks and mortgage companies are hoping a “cash for keys” policy will stem a growing problem for lenders taking possession of foreclosed homes: dispossessed homeowners trashing their houses on the way out the door. Cheaper and faster than eviction proceedings, the policy is "win-win for both parties," an agent who handles foreclosures tells the Wall Street Journal.

Half of real estate agents in a new survey say repossessed homes have suffered "substantial" damage. Missing appliances, paint where it doesn't belong, and vandalism committed by locked-in pets are just a few of the problems. A couple of thousand bucks to keep a property from falling victim to what the agent calls "a vengeance-type thing" may seem cheap.