Hat tip to shadash for sending this along, from the nctimes.com:

San Diego County court administrators will end the decades-old practice of selling foreclosed houses on the courthouse steps in downtown San Diego on Aug. 31, administrators said Monday.

Trustee sales, in which lenders auction off foreclosed properties, grew in popularity in recent months as investors went looking for cheap houses to fix up and sell or rent. What once attracted a dozen professionals can now bring in 40 or more interested buyers on any given day.

San Diego County joins Riverside, Los Angeles and other California counties in pushing the practice off its courthouse property. Sending the auction to a new, to-be-determined site could cost trustee companies, which sell the houses, thousands of dollars in advertising costs. But the courts have no obligation to host the auctions.

“Out of tradition, these sales have been held on the steps of the courthouse from a time when such sales were conducted by the court,” Michael Roddy, court executive officer, said in a written statement. “That is no longer the case; these are commercial activities being conducted on public property. These sales not only lack proper permits for conducting business in such a manner but they impact court business.”

Most of the sales at the downtown courthouse steps are run by Fidelity ASAP. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Trustee Assistance Corp., based in Santa Ana, conducts most of its San Diego County auctions at a city-owned building on Nevada Street in Oceanside. The move by the San Diego courts won’t affect their workings much, said Renee Patrick, but she expects to fight the ban along with other companies.

When location of a trustee sale changes, state law requires trustees to send new notices to borrowers and re-advertise properties that would be sold at the new site, a practice that costs from $600 to $700 per property, she said.

“If we had to re-advertise on all these files, that’s an enormous amount of money,” Patrick said.

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