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NY Zombie Kill Bill – Zombie Mayors lobby Albany

June 6, 2014

The biggest ZombieLaw news this week was New York‘s “zombie properties”, Zombie Kill Bill, as championed by the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

AG Schneiderman wrote an op-ed: “Passing the Zombie Kill Bill Is a No-Brainer” available at HuffPo and DailyKos:

Passing the Zombie Kill Bill is a no brainer. Let’s pass the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act this session.

Commentary on the AG’s Op-Ed at LongIslandExchange: “A.G. Schneiderman Op-Ed: Passing the Zombie Kill Bill is a No-Brainer” and TheDailyNewsOnline: “State AG backs bill to target ‘zombie’ properties“:

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has launched a statewide effort to encourage the State Legislature to pass the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act he proposed earlier this year.

Zombie properties threaten neighborhoods across New York State, from big cities to small towns,” Schneiderman said.

The city councils of Albany, Poughkeepsie, Elmira, Beacon, Jamestown, Hornell, Newburgh, Binghamton and Schenectady have already passed resolutions urging passage of the bill.

Sixteen mayors from across the state have written a letter addressed to leaders of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly.

zombie properties mayors new york schneiderman

The letter begins:

Dear Co-Coalition Leaders Skelos and Klein, and Speaker Silver:

On behalf of Mayors from across the state, we respectfully ask you to support the New York State Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014
(A9341, S7350). The communities we represent are facing the growing problem of vacant and abandoned residential properties, otherwise known as zombie homes. According to recent data from RealtyTrac, almost 15 percent of all New York State residential mortgages could be classified as zombie properties. These zombie properties fall into disrepair and contribute to neighborhood blight.

Poughkeepsie Journal: “Upstate mayors join ‘zombie properties’ push” by Jon Campbell:

The letter was signed by 16 mayors from upstate cities and villages, including Ithaca’s Svante Myrick, Rochester’s Lovely Warren, Buffalo’s Byron Brown and Shayne Gallo of Kingston.

The letter, which was distributed by Schneiderman’s office, comes as the future of major bills in the state Senate are in doubt.

The state’s legislative session runs through June 19.

Crain’s: ‘Zombie’ properties get eviction notice by Joe Anuta:

The New York State Conference of Mayors on Monday joined the growing call to rid the state of so-called “zombie properties,” or homes that typically have been abandoned in the middle of a foreclosure process and left to decay. And New York City is crawling with them.

and Anuta notes:

A Wells Fargo spokesman said the lender would not comment on pending legislation, but contended the firm follows local laws and already maintains and secures any property that is delinquent and vacant before a foreclosure sale.

Right, ok, but that’s why they want to change the law to make the requirements different.

See also pictures and coverage in Times Unions: “Photos: This week at the State Capitol June 2-6“, and “Local mayors back stricter laws on ‘zombie properties’” and “Bill targets zombie sites decaying in legal limbo” by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist:

[Mayor Gary] McCarthy joined Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia and Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane on Monday in support of legislation

With another banker quoted:

In a statement, Michael P. Smith, president of the New York Bankers Association, said his organization instead backs a bill that would accelerate the state’s longest-in-the-nation foreclosure process for vacant buildings.

“An expedited foreclosure process for these properties will decrease the likelihood that a property will deteriorate as it sits empty,” Smith said.

Right, of course they want to expedite the foreclosures, but they are zombie foreclosures not just because of government delays. The system is supposed to protect people from exactly the kinds of bank fraud that created this mess. We can’t just expedite it, we have to sort out all the robo-signed paper.

From 2WGRZ: “Upstate mayors join “zombie properties” push“, by Jon Campbell, Gannett Albany Bureau:

Cuomo hasn’t publicly taken a position on the abandoned property bill.

Why Governor Cuomo, why? Is it that you just don’t want to say the word zombie? Or is it because this doesn’t really do the job of protecting the homeowners? Or are you just desperate to make sure you keep the donations from your banker friends for the next election?

And where are the owners? Why can’t we find them and get them back in the homes? Or just use eminent domain to take the blighted property and give to better users? Or is that communism? We don’t need to go that far, we just need someone to take responsibility to upkeep the homes and the banks are often in the best position to do that.

And see Epoch Times: “New York Mayors Join Fight Against Zombie Properties” by Catherine Yang:

…properties bring “neighborhood blight.” According to RealtyTrac, 15 percent of all New York State mortgages are these abandoned zombie properties. “From vandalism to drug markets to plain unsightliness, this is a serious problem for all cities,” stated Rochester mayor Lovely Warren.

Remember when the NYTimes got a new headquarters out of blight; “Blight to Some Is Home to Others; Concern Over Displacement by a New Times Building” by David W. Dunlap, published: October 25, 2001:

Blight is what state officials see on the block of Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets: a shabby blend of sex shops, prostitution, loitering and drug dealing that scarcely welcomes the world to the new Times Square

And from 60Minutes CBSNEWS: “Eminent Domain: Being Abused?“, September 26, 2003 by Rebecca Leung:

The world’s most prestigious newspaper wants to build a new home on that block, but Stratford Wallace and the block’s other property owners didn’t want to sell. Wallace told 60 Minutes that the newspaper never tried to negotiate with him. Instead, The Times teamed up with a major real estate developer, and together they convinced New York State to use eminent domain to force Wallace out. How? By declaring the block blighted.

Is any of this kind of neighborhood gentrification what’s happening here? Oh how times have changed.

Where are the owners?! Is it really not possible to find them? Or is the bigger problem that the banks don’t even know who owns their notes, that they synthetically transferred it in violation of law and can’t unravel their robo-signed collaterized debts deals. The Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 is not a forgiving doctrine. I bet in some of those “zombie homes” they should belong to the buyer, debt free. They should be able to take possession or sell the house and get a quitclaim against the bank. The note might be void. The bank is a dummy holder devil playing spectral games with phantom investors, trying to pass them off to someone who can claim good faith buyer status and maybe one day enforce these worthless securities.

AND what about the homes in foreclosure that aren’t abandoned? What about the people who want to keep their home but the banks are still refusing to negotiate. In many cases the bank induced default with false promises and still refuses to bargain down the debts to any fair rate. The markets of 2008 were manipulated and the banks continue to profit while the communities crumble.

12Action WBNG: “New York State goes after ‘zombies’” by Matt Porter:

Across New York State, they’re left rotting, decomposing, and contaminating every property they touch.

They’re known as “zombies“, abandoned properties awaiting foreclosure creating health and safety hazards for neighbors.

And support from,

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-123rd) is a co-sponsor for the bill and said more needs to be done to bring the abandoned properties up to code.

“So pre-foreclosure, they want the banks to identify, secure, and maintain these abandoned or zombie properties as the Attorney General refers to them,” Lupardo said.

Sixteen mayors signed the letter, but this is very much still AG Schneiderman’s “zombie”, and there are surely many more politicians about to use this word:

TimeUnion ‘X’ marks the spot for zombie homes” by Paul Nelson:

[Niskayuna with Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw] wants a public spotlight put on zombie properties which she said have become eyesores in this solidly middle-class town,

and

Supporters of the bill, like sponsor Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein of Brooklyn, argue the banks’ own aggressive tactics have fueled the problem, chasing people prematurely from homes that are then left to rot as the foreclosure process drags on.

See also:

13WHAM:”State pushing away ‘zombie’ properties

RochesterHomepage: “Mayor Cracks Down on “Zombie” Properties” by Ashley Zilka

WXXI news: “State Attorney General Goes After “Zombie” Properties” by Randy Gorbman

Albany Business Review: “Mayors back plan to tackle zombie properties” by Krystle S. Morey

And finally, if you need help or know someone who does, LongIslandExchange: “16 Mayors Endorse Schneiderman Bill to Attack Abandoned Zombie Properties Across NYS“:

Homeowners who are in need of assistance are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s statewide foreclosure hotline at 855-HOME-456 and visit http://www.AGHomeHelp.com to connect with organizations and agencies in their area that can provide foreclosure prevention services.

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From → debts, economics

9 Comments
  1. Adam permalink

    When you ask where the homeowners are its usually pretty simple. They are the one’s that can no longer afford the upkeep and after trying to get help and getting kicked in the balls at every step they property finally goes into disrepair and the owners do what they need to in order to survive. They walk away. It sucks but take a good look at all the good people who have lost everything because they economy tanked, everything you need to survive has increased 10 fold. That’s your answer….help the people when they need it and this doesn’t happen.

    • YES! And it’s not too late, we could still help many people now but zombie apocalyptic thinking probably isn’t helping. There are still live owners who we could support now with loan modifications and principle reductions. Get the zombies back in their homes!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. New York State Legislature avoiding controversies @cbsnewyork #NYSAssembly #NYSenate @SenatorSkelos @shellySilver @JeffKleinNY | zombielaw
  2. New @RealtyTrac zombie foreclosure data @J_Robison1 @lisagibbs954 @eli_segall @Batavia_Daily | zombielaw
  3. Zombie Foreclosure Update | zombielaw
  4. “Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren will become a zombie.” @13WHAM @LovelyAWarren @AGSchneiderman | zombielaw
  5. Legislation about Zombie Properties #ZombieHomes | zombielaw
  6. zombie foreclosures are still bank fraud @realtytrac @agschneiderman | zombielaw
  7. zombie foreclosures are still bank fraud | zombielaw

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