New York is imposing new requirements on mortgage lenders to maintain abandoned houses before foreclosure.
The law, signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, threatens banks with civil penalties up to $500 a day for failing to maintain residential properties once they're aware of vacancies.
The old law required they take responsibility following a foreclosure judgment, which Cuomo said left hundreds of "zombie properties" across the state.
The signed legislation, A10741/S8159, also establishes an electronic statewide registry of abandoned homes, establishes a state hotline where neighbors can report them and requires notices to mortgage borrowers emphasizing their right to stay in houses until foreclosure.
"It brings together multiple strands that, combined, will help homeowners, neighborhoods and municipalities and New York State at large, move from crisis into recovery," said Kirsten Keefe, a senior attorney at the nonprofit law firm Empire Justice Center. "The settlement conference and notice improvements alone will have an immense impact. I look forward to seeing this new law put into action."
A related measure, A10730/S8141, establishes a State of New York Mortgage Agency fund to buy and sell abandoned properties at below-market rates and demolish those beyond repair.