Schneiderman proposes more efforts to reduce vacant properties

Feb 24, 2014

  New York's attorney general wants to reduce the number of vacant properties in the state's cities by creating more land banks and a registry to track foreclosed on homes.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed legislation that will double the number of land banks in the state to 20. The first ten land banks, including one in Syracuse, began working over the past two years. Their mission is to seize vacant and severely tax delinquent properties and put them back on the tax rolls.

Vacant properties are a drain on municipalities to maintain, Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman calls homes that have been abandoned by homeowners because they're too far behind on their mortgage and tax bills "zombie homes."

"You have a lot of abandoned homes that become magnates for vandalism and crime, dragging down property values of the neighborhood," he said.

He also wants to keep a statewide list of these zombie homes so that cities can better track them. His legislation would put the burden of maintaining the properties on the lender, which he says will encourage banks to work with homeowners so they don't lose or abandon their homes.