NY municipalities support maintaining foreclosed properties

Monday February 25, 2013


Staff Writer

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Local municipalities voiced support for two bills in the New York State Legislature seeking better upkeep of foreclosed properties.

Republican state Sen. Kathleen Marchione, 43rd senate district representative, co-sponsored the two legislative items currently in committee.

Earlier this month, recognizing a "proliferation" of vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties, Hoosick town board members passed a resolution in support of the two bills. The Feb. 11 resolution acknowledged the detrimental effect vacant properties have on property values in town.

The following evening at their regular board meeting, village of Hoosick Falls officials made their own motion supporting the passage of Assembly bills A.88 and A.824.

Introduced last month and referred to committee, A.88 would require lending institutions in mortgage foreclosure actions "to provide contact information of the employee or agent responsible for the maintenance of the foreclosed property." The legislation would amend state real property actions and proceedings law and require the property owner to provide written notice to the municipality in which the property is located, as well as on the vacant dwelling itself.

The justification, according to the bill, is because of a "foreclosure crisis" resulting from the recent economic downturn. In Rensselaer County between tax year 2004 and 2008, the Bureau of Finance tallied 70 foreclosure proceedings beginning in Hoosick and Hoosick Falls. In the same time period, 29 properties were actually foreclosed on.

Current law requires lending institutions to maintain foreclosed properties, but the proposed legislation states the process of ensuring compliance can be onerous for local municipalities with no set form of required contact information.

The second bill, A.824, would require institutions to maintain properties "in good faith" during foreclosure actions. The term good faith is defined in the bill as "honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable standards of fair dealing."

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