SPRINGFIELD, Mo. More properties that used to be owned by Chris Gatley, managed by 417 Rentals are up for auction.
A house on Commercial Street has been sitting empty for a while. Neighbors said squatters moved in recently causing part of it to catch fire.
This is one of many properties Gatley has been forced to foreclose on since his bankruptcy case was thrown out of federal court.
A state law makes it possible for banks to unload them quickly to investors interested in turning them around.
"We build motors here is what we do," said Clayton Lamb.
He works at Motor Machine Shop. It's been on Commercial street for nearly half a century. Lamb said he has seen the neighborhood change over the years.
"It's progressively gone down," he said.
He said that crime has gone up over the years mostly because houses, like Gatley's, two doors down, aren't kept up.
"We've had stuff stolen out of the shop. We've had stuff that comes up missing outside," he said.
It's the same story across town in Joyce Kaasa's neighborhood near another Gatley house on Harrison Street about to be foreclosed on.
"It was nice when we first moved here. Now it's just real crappy," she said.
She said she's noticed an increase in squatters and crime.
"I don't feel threatened. But you could be very easily," said Kaasa.
Lee Viorel said, "The power of sale (law) lends itself to this speedy process."
He is the trustee charged with selling the soon to be foreclosed lots.
"Creditors like it. Buyers like it. It's a way that they can transfer title without spending a lot of time bogged down in court," he said.
*However a downside to the state ordinance that allows lenders to quickly sell properties can leave eyesores throughout the community.
"A bank will look at the property and decide if it is in a blighted area that they're not going to take it back. The foreclosure sale doesn't go forward and it remains in really a defunct situation," he said.
Kaasa said she reluctantly optimistic about possible improvements.
"Good luck to him, she said. "It'd be wonderful if they fix them up and keep them that way."
Lamb said he is eager for change.
"To me it's exciting because you're going to get some more people in that are going to make things better. It's great for everybody," he said.
The properties will be sold to the highest bidder this Thursday.