Gov. Cuomo Passes New Foreclosure Legislation to Combat Zombie Homes

At the end of June, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed new “sweeping” legislation that will reform New York’s foreclosure process and address the zombie house issue.

According to HousingWire, the new law will end a more than two-year effort combating New York’s foreclosure problems. In 2014, Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, introduced new legislation that would have required banks and mortgagees to maintain zombie homes that are vacant because of foreclosure delays.

Schneiderman proposed the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act bill in an attempt to decrease the number of vacant homes around New York by informing homeowners of their right to stay in the home until a court orders them to leave.

Cuomo’s legislation combines Schneiderman’s proposed bill and the reforms of former Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky.

“For many New Yorkers,” Cuomo said, “homes are our single most important investment, but that investment can be undermined by the blight of neglected and abandoned properties.”

Cuomo’s office hopes the new laws will combat zombie housing by addressing rehabilitation, repair, and improvements much more quickly and allowing the state to assist homeowners facing foreclosure issues.

Considering that approximately one out of every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon, the new legislation can’t come soon enough. There are strict laws already in place that ensure proper notice is given to residents, but homeowners are leaving these properties before anything is resolved. The new legislation will impose a pre-foreclosure fidelity on banks to combat these problems.

“For each zombie home that we cure,” said Cuomo, “we are saving entire neighborhoods from the corrosive effect of blight and neglect.”

Lohud reports that in Rockland County, the presence of vacant zombie homes has decreased nearby property values by are than $11.4 million.

“Rather than stand by and accept zombie properties as the status quo,” Democratic Senator David Carlucci said, “we must adopt strict measures that will stem the tide of property value depreciation in Rockland.”

New York — with 3,352 zombie foreclosures — currently has the second largest amount in the United States.

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