Vacant and abandoned properties are SYRUP’s pet peeve. Usually referring to commercial properties, our goal with events such as “Lights On Downtown” is to fill vacant properties and re-activate neighborhoods as a means to help spur economic development. A new program created by Governor Cuomo is also taking aim at abandoned properties in the form of a measure recently adopted by 11 of New York’s lending companies to address this issue.
The problem arises as people fall behind on their mortgages and vacate the property. The bank will eventually own the home again, but is not legally required to maintain it until the foreclosure process is complete. Three years or so can pass before the legal matters are sorted and in this time a lot can go wrong for a property and a neighborhood.
“Zombie Properties” as they are referred to in the measure will be monitored within 60 days of delinquency and once a month thereafter. If it is determined that the property is abandoned, the bank will step in to change locks, maintain the landscaping, and ensure safety hazards are taken care of. The property will also be added to a registry that will inform local officials of their status.
“Vacant and abandoned buildings are plaguing our cities and towns in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. We commend the Governor for recognizing this problem and devoting resources to resolving the issue. This is a good first step by the banks to take responsibility for these properties so that cities are not left holding the bag”, said Kristen Keefe, a senior attorney for the Empire Justice Center.
I am left wondering if this measure is geared toward residential properties or if it will also include commercial and industrial buildings and also what type of effect this may have on lending policies. Any thoughts? Share them in the comments! All in all, this sounds like a good deal for our cities and our neighbors.