Governor signs law for municipalities to better address ‘zombie’ properties

Posted 19 December 2019 at 8:01 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation (S.5079-A/A.1859-A) – or the Zombie Property Remediation Act of 2019 – allowing municipalities to better address zombie properties that are plaguing their communities.

The new law will authorize local governments to compel mortgage lenders to either complete a mortgage foreclosure proceeding or to issue a certificate of discharge of the mortgage for any abandoned property, allowing local government officials to deal with these properties that decrease surrounding property values and put on a strain on municipal resources.

“Zombie properties are plaguing communities all across our state, driving down property values and burdening our taxpayers,” Governor Cuomo said. “By making it easier for local municipalities to deal with these abandoned and unmaintained properties, we are helping to preserve homes and protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

Thousands of abandoned properties are blighting communities throughout the state, and zombie properties – abandoned homes that have been foreclosed upon by a bank and are not tended to by anyone – are complicating the efforts of local government officials to deal with these properties.

Zombie properties can sit in legal foreclosure limbo for years, sometimes deteriorating to the point that the buildings must be demolished while the mortgage lender fails to complete the foreclosure process. This new law will make it easier for municipalities to reclaim and redevelop zombie properties in order to return them to the property tax rolls.

This new law goes into effect immediately.

Senator James Skoufis said, “Zombie properties across New York State continue to plague our main streets, are dangers for first responders, and make code enforcement an even more difficult task than it already is. This law will equip municipalities with a real tool to better hold big banks accountable to our communities, clean up our neighborhoods, and strengthen our property values.”

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