The fight against neighborhood blight took a giant step forward this week, as Ohio just became the first state to ban the use of plywood on vacant and abandoned properties.
The changes to state law were part of HB 463, which Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law earlier this week.
Under the state’s new laws, “no person shall use plywood to secure real property that is deemed vacant and abandoned.”
The law takes effect 90 days after Kasich’s signature made it official, meaning mortgage servicers operating in Ohio have just three months to discontinue their use of plywood to secure abandoned properties.
With the change, Ohio becomes the first state to ban the use of plywood, joining a movement away from plywood and towards clear boarding.
In May 2015, the city of Phoenix became one of the first cities to ban plywood, stipulating that servicers must use sheets of polycarbonate to cover the windows in abandoned homes.
And last year, Fannie Mae changed its policies to encourage servicers to use clear boarding instead of plywood whether the property is in a pre-foreclosure or post-foreclosure status.
The move away from plywood, which has long been the standard material for securing vacant properties, has been a long time coming, according Robert Klein, the founder and chairman of Community Blight Solutions.
“This is a significant advancement for those engaged in the battle against neighborhood blight in Ohio,” said Klein, whose company is one of the leading providers of clear boarding.
“Plywood is an outdated solution to a growing modern-day problem. We need to apply 21st century solutions to reverse the trends that are decimating our neighborhoods,” Klein continued. “It is my hope that other states will follow Ohio’s leadership and enact similar legislation.”
Robert Klein is the founder and chairman of the board for field services provider Safeguard Properties and also chair of polycarbonate sheeting company Secure View.