The home foreclosure process can take months and even years in some states. The length of the process often leads homeowners to simply get up and leave the house once they know home foreclosure is imminent. However in Florida, these abandoned homes sit empty for quite some time and lead to additional problems. These empty homes are being referred to as zombie homes.

While in the foreclosure process, the owner is still on the title of the home and responsible for upkeep. But, many homeowners have simply left the homes and filed for bankruptcy. Since the banks are still in the legal process of reclaiming the home and the home is still in the owner’s name, the owner is still legally responsible for any taxes, liens, or costs imposed by others who do perform any upkeep. However, for some Florida towns, the people simply leave and are never heard from again, leaving the property unmaintained.

Many neighborhoods in Florida are plagued by these zombie homes. They are overgrown, may have broken windows, or worse. One neighborhood resident in Florida contends a zombie home on their street is actually now a crack house. There is an estimated 1,903 homes vacated by owners in one Florida county alone.

While the threat of home foreclosure can lead to panic and fear for any homeowner, there are options and help that can assist homeowners in keeping their home. There are also many options aside from abandoning the home and leaving it open to being destroyed or becoming a zombie home for others to deal with. Anyone facing home foreclosure in Florida should explore their options before simply leaving the home and starting over somewhere new.

Source: USA Today, When owners walk, ‘zombie’ homes become nuisance, Scott Gunnerson, Sept. 1, 2013