In N.Y., Banks Must Now Pay To Maintain 'Zombie' Houses

Jun 23, 2016

Credit Don Ryan / AP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law today that requires banks to care for "zombie" properties--homes that are in foreclosure and have been abandoned.

On Thursday Cuomo traveled around the state, from Syracuse to Long Island, talking about the new law. He said the law first gives the owner the opportunity to stay in their home and adjust the mortgage to an amount they can pay. 

If the property becomes vacant, then the bank will be required to board up windows, maintain pipes, and fix safety issues at the start of the foreclosure process. 

"If the bank doesn’t do it, the bank is going to get fined $500 per day. And if the bank doesn’t do it, then the local government or the state can come in, take over that property and maintain it. Because enough is enough.  This has been going on for years, and it’s really been hurting property values across the state."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says there are about 16,000 of these properties statewide.

The new law will also create a database and a toll-free hotline to keep track of abandoned properties.