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New York’s Battle Against Zombie Homes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation granting local cities more power in fighting against zombie properties, according to a news affiliate out of Albany, New York. 

The law will authorize local governments to compel mortgage lenders to “fast track” foreclosure properties or release the abandoned property to allow for resolution on a local level.

"Zombie properties are plaguing communities all across our state, driving down property values and burdening our taxpayers," 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." 

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development  (NYC HPD) identified over 3,000 zombie homes in the city. Most of the homes are in areas that are still recovering from the impacts of the Great Recession. 

Leila Bozorg, Deputy Commissioner of HPD, said a large part of this team's work involves collecting data on such homes and the extent of the challenge of rehabilitating these properties. She told Fox News that new laws allow them to hold financial lenders more accountable once a home falls into foreclosure.

NYC has also partnered with organizations like the Center for NYC Neighborhoods to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments to find funds and help prevent the creation of more zombie homes.

“We send people out to survey homes to try to document where are zombie homes in New York City and what’s the extent of the challenge,” Bozorg told Fox News.

New York neighborhoods such as Central Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, northern Staten Island, and parts of the Bronx, particularly, have a higher number of distressed and abandoned properties compared to the rest of the city, according to HPD data.

According to a report by Curbed, the city saw around 18,000 foreclosure filings in 2007, when the foreclosure crisis first hit New York. Today, there are at least 2,000 abandoned and deteriorated homes many of which are in the process of foreclosure. 

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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