Mediation program hoped to ease foreclosures

While Clermont County has long been known for its high rate of growth in housing, the local market has not been immune to the downturn that has affected the housing market nationally.

Judge Robert Ringland, of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas, said that he hopes to throw a lifeline to local lenders and homeowners and create a way to slow or even reverse the housing decline in southern Ohio.

“Basically, this is an effort by the courts to address the foreclosure glut,” said Judge Ringland. “I estimate that we’ve had about a 13-15 percent increase in filings in just this last year in this county alone. We see that there are a lot of secondary effects of this. People are losing their homes, and people who keep the homes are losing property values. The people who have the homes can’t sell them when they go on the market, the banks buy them back, and the houses stay vacant. There’s a ripple effect.”

Judge Ringland said that the idea is to create a method of getting lenders and lendees together when times are tough, a method that will be sustainable and effective enough to create answers.