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NYC’s Continuing Fight Against Zombie Properties

New York City received $500,000 in funding for a new team that will focus on cracking down on zombie properties that have been abandoned and are in foreclosure, according to PIX11

New York City Neighborhoods CEO Christie Peale said zombie homes not only bring down property, but frustrate neighboring homeowners. 

“I want this to be affordable home ownership,” said Peale.

Lelia Bozorg, deputy commissioner of housing preservation and development, said zombie homes are in “every neighborhood,” especially ones hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. She estimates the city has as many as 4,000 zombie properties. 

"What we are able to do is hold the banks accountable, maintaining these properties while they are in limbo during the foreclosure process,” said Bozorg.

New York in 2016 was empowered by a zombie property law that requires financial institutions to inspect properties delinquent on foreclosures. The city’s first zombie team was created in 2017.

Despite this new-found funding, Republican lawmakers from New York question the impact of a recent bill passed by the state’s senate and assembly. 

The Post-Journal reported the bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman William Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, stipulates that if a property has been deemed vacant, a municipality can begin a legal proceeding to compel banks to begin foreclosure within three months and meet all deadlines to make sure the case is resolved within a year.

The bill adds that if a foreclosure case on the abandoned property has begun, the bank must file the necessary motions and within three months file paperwork to move the case to judicial foreclosure or issue a certificate of discharge within three months and file a satisfaction of the mortgage with the appropriate local offices.

Republicans also raised issues related to the Community Reinvestment Act and the state’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act that would be impacted by the passage of this bill, according to The Post-Journal. The report quoted Assemblyman Andrew Raia, R-Northport asking if banks would be able to meet the timelines laid out for them in the Zombie Property Remediation Act while living up to the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Act, especially given that New York has the longest foreclosure process in the country.

About Author: Mike Albanese

Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville.
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