Bookmark and Share

Maintenance of Abandoned Properties in Foreclosure  


In January of 2009 the City of Milwaukee passed an ordinance regulating the maintenance of abandoned residential properties pending foreclosure and during foreclosure proceedings. The Department of Neighborhood (DNS) has established a process whereby parties with a mortgage lien interest in such properties are required to register the properties within five days after the properties are found to be abandoned. It is the responsibility of the lender to comply with the requirements of the ordinance.

The intent of this ordinance is to:
1. Reduce and prevent neighborhood blight
2. Correct conditions that threaten the health, safety and welfare of the public
3. Promote neighborhood stability and residential owner occupancy by preserving the condition and appearance of residential properties.
4. Maintain residential property values and assessments.

To view a Copy of the Ordinance click here -> Ordinance Section 200-22.5

How the Public can help!

With the rapid onset of a foreclosure dramatic changes can happen on a property. The sudden disappearance of the occupants can destabilize the neighborhood. Neighbors can minimize this harm by helping to monitor the conditions around them. Early warning signs are the lack of lawn maintenance or snow shoveling, the buildup of mail or door flyers, the lack of window treatments or shades, etc. If you see windows knocked out, doors kicked in, or other signs of forcible entry, call DNS at 414-286-2268 with the address.  You call can prevent further deterioration to the neighborhood and help protect your property value.

What is required after the filing of foreclosure proceedings?

An inspection - The ordinance requires that a physical inspection of the residential property be made by the bank, lender or other financial institution, or its responsible agent or servicing company, within 30 days after the filing of foreclosure proceedings. One or more photographs shall be taken of the property, accurately portraying the condition of the exterior premises. Photographs shall be dated and preserved. Written records should be kept of any actions taken. Additional inspections are required at least once every 30 days thereafter until the property is no longer in default, or is sold at sheriff’s sale, or is otherwise lawfully conveyed to a new owner. 

What is required when the inspection determines the residential property is abandoned?

Registration- If upon inspection the property is determined to be abandoned, the bank, lender, or other financial institution or its responsible agent or servicing company shall register the property with the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS). Registration should be done within 5 days of finding the property to be abandoned. For the definition of  "ABANDONED" click here-->Abandoned Definition.  There is a $35-$45 fee for this registration. The fee is determined by the date the property is found to be abandoned and the date that the property is registered as abandoned. To determine the fee for a property read the Instructions for Completing the Abandoned Property Foreclosure Form. The information provided on the registration form will allow DNS and other City departments to contact the lenders and/or their agents when action is required to secure, maintain and preserve the property.

What is required after the registration form is filed?

Ongoing Maintenance - The lender’s responsibilities do not end with registration of the property. The ordinance requires ongoing maintenance throughout the foreclosure period. Maintenance includes, but is not limited to, assuring there are no accessible structures on the premises and assuring there are no conditions upon the property that present an immediate risk to the heath and safety of the public. This includes maintaining the public sidewalk free of snow and ice, cutting of overgrown vegetation (grass/trees), removal of nuisance trash, debris, vehicles, graffiti, etc. 



Below are the links to documents and forms to complete the registration process. This registration is required within 5 days of the date the property is found to be abandoned. It is recommended that you read through the Instructions before you complete the registration form. When you have completed the form you will submit it to us via email.  The follow applications utilize built-in instructions. Thus you will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader version 7.0.5 or higher. If you get a "Context Error" warning, download a free update from the Adobe website.

Registration Form Instuctions - Detailed instructions for completing the registration form.

Abandoned Property Registration Form (DNS-20a).pdf - Form used to register abandoned property in foreclosure with DNS.

External Condition of Property form (DNS-20a1).pdf – Use this form if you need more space than what is provided in section 11 of the Registration form.

Action Plan Form (DNS-20a2).pdf - Use this form if you need more space than what is provided in section 13 of the Registration form.

What is required if an APIF was previously submitted but the foreclosure action is now cancelled, dismissed or discharged?

The Abandoned Properties In Foreclosure registration program requires notification if the foreclosure action is cancelled, dismissed or discharged.  This shall be done by submitting a Notice of Dismissal form.  This form can be found at the FORMS page in the Public Information Section listed under the Residential Property Pending Foreclosure.
Please note that an APIF must still be submitted even if the foreclosure action has been since been cancelled, dismissed or discharged.  If this is the case please submit both the registration and Notice of Dismissal simultaneously.

Abandoned Property In Foreclosure Notice of Dismissal Form.pdf- File this Notice of Dismissal (NOD) form if the foreclosure action has been dismissed, settled, or discharged since submitting an APIF registration form.

New owner? Are you a bank or lender?  Realtor managing a property that was foreclosed?  Check out this checklist to make sure you have your bases covered.

Are you a bank now in sole ownership of a property following a foreclosure? Perhaps a realtor now managing a property unitl sold? Here are some step-by-step summaries of what you need to consider doing to keep your property in compliance with various DNS Code Enforcement programs. Click Here-->Step-By-Step help for Banks and Realtors.

Questions on the DNS APIF registration process?  Call 414-286-3996.

Other Help on Foreclosures Available

  • Want help buying a foreclosed property?
  • Want to find foreclosed property to buy in your neighborhood?
  • Are you a renter being forced out by a foreclosure in need of help?
  • Are you at risk of losing your home to foreclosure?
  • Are you living next to a problem foreclosed property and don't know who to call for help?

Questions: E-mail


  Last Update  09/26/16