Lenders would have a duty to care for homes abandoned in foreclosure under legislation supported by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Attorney General also wants to increase tracking of such real estate, as well as funding of state land banks, in the effort to reduce the number of so-called “zombie properties.”
Attorney General Schneiderman unveiled the plan as part of an effort to combat blight and associated crime that comes with abandoned foreclosure properties. Under the legislation, mortgage foreclosure Plaintiffs would be required to move as quickly as possible to start keeping up a property that becomes vacant. State Sen. Timothy Kennedy (D-Buffalo) has also introduced legislation that would require foreclosure Plaintiffs to maintain properties “in good faith.”
The Attorney General’s legislation will impose sanctions, as does Sen. Kennedy’s bill, which subjects violators to a criminal negligence misdemeanor charge if they leave properties in disrepair. Municipalities across the country, including Las Vegas, Nev., and Indio, Calif., with similar laws on the books, have had great success in keeping abandoned or vacant homes from falling into disrepair.
A New York law, designed to protect persons whose homes are foreclosed from lengthy, costly and damaging litigation recently became a reality when the state’s court system published a “certificate of merit” requirement. Lawyers representing foreclosure Plaintiffs must complete these requirements before suit can be filed. The certificates are part of a new law requiring lawyers representing foreclosure Plaintiffs to attest that there is “a reasonable basis for the commencement” of an action. The law also requires lenders to file with the court papers necessary to trigger mandatory settlement conferences.
Owners of property entering foreclosure and their neighbors very much deserve to be protected from the neglect and abandonment that frequently occur after banks and other lenders take over ownership of properties. The damage caused by neglect reaches far beyond the boundary lines of a foreclosed property. It’s good to see the New York Attorney General getting involved in this serious matter.
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