Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has filed a lawsuit against US Bank for being behind they city's "bank blight," and calling them "slum lords."
The bank has foreclosed on over 1,500 homes in Los Angeles in the past year. Trutanich says it is responsible for allowing at least 150 of those homes to fall into disrepair, and thus inviting blight, crime, and lowering neighborhood property values.
Neighborhoods that have been hit hardest have the most problems - including stories of foreclosed properties perpetuate gang activity, squatting, dead animals, graffiti and even prostitution because the banks have failed to maintain the properties.
California is leading the nation in foreclosed homes, and many are worried that a back log of foreclosures in the state will perpetuate the problem (as of March 31, there were 362,000 homes in foreclosure or under water).
This isn't the first time the City of Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit like this, and it may not be the last - Trutanich was quoted by Reuters saying "that is one of the arrows in the quiver," but didn't provide additional details or names.
The city recently adopted charging banks fees on foreclosed homes to help pay for inspectors that will monitor the conditions of foreclosed homes in Los Angeles. The city also adopted a Neighborhood Stabilization Program this year to help pay for the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties in communities that have been impacted the hardest.