California town cracks down on bank-owned properties

If you've ever looked at foreclosed properties, you've probably noticed that they're often not in the best condition: algae in the pool, unkempt lawns, peeling paint and in some cases, debris scattered across the lawn.

The poor condition that frequently characterizes foreclosures can have an adverse impact on the quality of life for neighbors and hurt property values: Who would want to buy your house when the one next door is a vacant mess? Indio, California has had enough and has come up with an innovative solution: Arresting bankers who let REO properties go into disrepair. Of course in reality that doesn't happen, but it does provide a powerful incentive for far-off banks that would otherwise let the properties languish unloved and uncared for. The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) on how it's working out.