Brooklyn -- Deed theft, or stealing the title of a house, also known as title fraud, is a predatory practice targeting rapidly gentrifying communities, especially communities of color. The City of New York received around 3,000 complaints about deed theft between 2014 and 2019, 45% of which came from Brooklyn. Often the practice involves forging a homeowner’s signature on documents without their knowledge or tricking them into signing over their property under false claims of financial relief.
The New York State Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development will hold a public hearing on October 27, 2022, at 10:00 a.m at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan to receive public testimony on the issue of deed theft in New York State.
“Deed theft is an egregious criminal practice causing irreparable harm to NYC homeowners, especially Black and Brown homeowners in Brooklyn,” said Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn). “These homeowners are not only being scammed out of their homes but out of the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families. Our laws must be strengthened to protect New York homeowners' right to own what is theirs.”
“For many New Yorkers, their homes are their greatest asset,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development. “Deed theft preys on some of our most vulnerable fellow New Yorkers. Deed theft is all too prevalent in New York and it is our duty as elected officials to examine this egregious practice, to identify any legislative remedies or public policy changes that are available to put an end to it, and to seek justice for those who have already fallen victim.”
Despite the important work of the Office of the Attorney General to raise awareness of this criminal activity, current law does not adequately protect homeowners who are caught up in the web of scammers looking to steal their homes. The Committee will receive firsthand public testimony from victims of deed theft or title fraud.