Santabarbara: Bill to Fight Zombie Properties Passes Assembly

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is taking action to fight off the zombies in our community – specifically the zombie properties that plague our neighborhoods and can sometimes surround our homes.

Assemblyman Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, announced Tuesday that legislation to help local communities address the persisting problem of vacant and abandoned properties, or “zombie properties,” has passed the Assembly (A.6932-A).

The legislation, called the New York State Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2016 and championed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, ensures that properties trapped in the foreclosure process are properly maintained so that the surrounding neighborhood residents are not attacked by these zombie properties, which bring blight and take value from their homes. Currently, these properties are often caught in a limbo that leaves local governments responsible for upkeep costs.

“This legislation will help keep families in their homes, protect our neighborhoods and strengthen local communities,” said Santabarbara. “Upstate cities like Schenectady remain focused on revitalization efforts and are making significant investments to strengthen our neighborhoods. It was important to fight for the passage of this legislation that will provide much-needed support to local municipalities, families and homeowners that have seen blight and declining property values and have been fighting the 'zombies' for too long.”

Just last April, Assemblyman Santabarbara joined Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy in standing with Attorney General Schneiderman in front of one of the city’s abandoned properties in calling for the bill’s passage. The legislation would also better equip municipalities to address the issues of zombie properties by creating a statewide registry of the properties and requiring banks and mortgage lenders to report them.

It would also create a new fund, which would use money collected by the Attorney General’s Office through enforcement actions to provide aid to municipalities in their own enforcement of the Abandoned Properties Neighborhood Relief Act.

“These zombie properties are just that – zombies that take away the vibrancy of our communities, and our local governments are being hit with the cost to maintain them,” Santabarbara added. “I’ll continue to fight for this legislation until it becomes law so that we can help our neighborhoods fight off the 'zombies' and keep them out of our communities."