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NYS Law Will Give Local Municipalities Weapon to Battle Against Zombie Homes

Will authorize municipalities to compel lenders to complete foreclosure or discharge abandoned properties.

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A new law that went into effect in December called the Zombie Property Remediation Act of 2019 will help local municipalities in the fight against so-called “zombie homes” or properties abandoned by owners and in the foreclosure process that are plaguing communities around Long Island.


According to a statement describing the new law, local governments will be authorized in New York State 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.”


Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the properties are a burden on taxpayers and a strain on the housing market.


Reports say there are about 1,000 of these boarded up homes in neighborhoods across Long Island.


"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," he said in a statement.


These zombie properties have been abandoned by the homeowners and foreclosed on by banks but are not being tended to by anyone.


“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,” a statement about the new law said. “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.”