You Asked, Patch Answers: What’s With That Vacant House On Division?

The property, at 405 Division Street, is still strewn with downed tree limbs from the February blizzard.

506 Division Street is vacant and neglected.
506 Division Street is vacant and neglected.

You know this house. It’s the large white one on the right as you drive into town on Division Street, just before the First Avenue split – number 506. There are large tree limbs blocking one side of the crescent-shaped driveway, limbs that fell during the blizzard last February.

Why is it in such a derelict state?

According to town records, the property is owned by the Federal National Mortgage Association, otherwise known as Fannie Mae. The former owners – Robert Rainville of East Greenwich and Lisa Walker of California – deeded the property over to Fannie Mae last August to avoid foreclosure.

Since then – possibly before that – it has sat vacant and neglected.

“You’re trying to talk to someone at Fannie Mae about a house in East Greenwich and it’s like a black hole. You get no response,” said Town Building Official Wayne Pimental.

“I’ve left emails with them. I’ve left phone messages with them,” Pimental said. “It’s absolutely amazing. With an asset like that, you’d think they want to maintain it, but they really don’t care.”

The house, a Colonial built in 1920, is 1,764 square feet, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an in-ground pool, central air conditioning and a two-car garage.

It last sold on the market in 2005 for $395,000. It is assessed at $348,500 and taxes are up-to-date, according to the town's finance department.

According to Pimental, when a property is neglected, the town tries to contact the owner to take care of it. If that doesn’t work the town will then send a town employee out to mow the lawn and place a lien on the property for the cost of the service. In this particular case, he said, they haven’t done anything at the property because of the tree limbs.

“I’m dealing with about six to eight foreclosed properties right now, in various states of neglect,” he said. “I know some towns require that when a house goes into a bank’s hands, you have to give a contact name and number” to the town for the property. East Greenwich does not require that.

I decided to give Fannie Mae a call, to see if I could find out anything. I was told 506 Division Street was not in their system. It’s not listed on homepath.com, the website listing Fannie Mae homes for sale – two houses in East Greenwich are listed there. In an earlier call to Fannie Mae, a representative said some homes owned by FM are not yet listed for sale because of foreclosure red tape.

But 506 Division was not foreclosed on, so what's the deal with that vacant on Division Street? We're still looking for answers....

Therese Vezeridis July 31, 2013 at 07:00 AM
So why doesn't the Town of East Greenwich require a contact name and number? Unfortunately, there are more properties in EG sitting vacant in disrepair and prone to vandalism - some for more than 2-3 years!
Katie B July 31, 2013 at 08:08 AM
My husband and I tried to purchase a home in disrepair which was vacant for years, and the bank said they were not interested in selling...the house needed a LOT of work, but we were willing to put in the work to make it a wonderful home again. We are VERY happy in the home we wound up buying- but it's a shame that the banks aren't even willing to unload a house when someone is interested in it. It's an eyesore on the town and without someone coming in soon to revive, these houses will need to be torn down.
courtney calcione July 31, 2013 at 10:43 AM
With the rental market booming here, I am sure that you could find an optimistic renter to take care of the property. Its a shame... Its a beautiful house on a MAIN ROAD that everyone drives by. Its a bad representation of East Greenwich.
Einstein August 04, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Does this represent our TAX DOLLARS at Work? Wonderful.
shurelock homes August 05, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Let's fill in the dots: This is the house where Mr. Rainville was arrested last November for assaulting his wife. Check out: http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/12/ag-candidate-alex-and-ani-general-counsel-arrested-on-domestic-chargesready.html Mr. Rainville is a senior vice president at alex and ani. That is, the "power of positive energy" people. So, if the lovely incident at the house wasn't enough of a gift to the town, another piece of "positive energy" has been sent our way. Thanks alex and ani, way to give to the community.


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