Very good question. And one I had not considered, but I'm sure the thought has been very much on the minds of coastal residents in hurricane-prone areas. Like Florida.
Not only will these vacant, unattended homes face the possibility of complete annihilation, they also stand to be the source of flying deadly missiles in the event of "the big one".
The Associated Press offers some bleak prospective:
The Associated Press Economic Stress Index — a month-by-month analysis of foreclosure, bankruptcy and unemployment rates in more than 3,000 U.S. counties — confirms that some of the areas most likely to be stuck by a hurricane are suffering the most in this recession.
In March, there were 281,691 homes in foreclosure in Florida and coastal counties in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
No state laws mandate who prepares buildings before a hurricane; even officials from the Florida Division of Emergency Management say that securing foreclosures isn't a concern. "It's not an aspect that we really deal with," said John Cherry, the agency's external affairs director. "Our No. 1 concern is life safety."
Quick evacuation will be the priority, not securing vacant homes, if a major storm looms, others say. But shutterless homes can be a major safety hazard in a hurricane. And a region full of destroyed or heavily damaged homes would depress real estate values even further.
Of course, protection of lives should be the priority. But the banks don't have the manpower to secure all the vacant foreclosed homes, although they will suffer the losses. And then, who will clean up the mess?