Senate Passes Bill to Speed Up Foreclosure Process

Patrick M. Gallivan

June 15, 2017

Legislation to Address Zombie Properties in Erie County

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) announces the Senate has passed a bill (S.6580) that would allow Erie County to foreclose on a vacant and abandoned property after just one year of tax delinquency.  The current law requires two years of delinquency before tax foreclosure can begin.

"So-called Zombie properties are a blight on neighborhoods across Erie County,” Gallivan said.  “In addition to driving down property values, many of these properties pose safety risks.  Forcing municipalities to wait two years before proceeding with a county tax foreclosure is not fair to those living near the abandoned property or to other taxpayers in the community.”

A home that sits vacant for two years often deteriorates beyond the point of repair, leaving the municipality with the cost and responsibility of demolition.  By allowing Erie County to foreclose after one year of delinquent taxes, the county can facilitate the transfer of these properties to a more productive use.

The issue of zombie properties erupted following the 2008 financial crisis. In 2015, a report claimed nearly 800 such houses throughout Erie County with a total assessed value of $58 million.

The bill has been sent to the Assembly where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Kearns (D, Buffalo).