HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. -- The town of Haverstraw is being aggressive towards so-called “zombie homes,” which are not only eyesores, but potentially hazardous, says Supervisor Howard Philips, according to a report by lohud.com.
Philips cited a shabby house with overgrown grass on Suffern Lane in the hamlet of Garnerville that the owners walked away from more than a year ago, lohud.com reported.
"Zombie" properties are the result of a foreclosure process that has been initiated by a bank, or other lending institution, but not completed. They can cause neighboring properties to go down in value.
Because abandoned houses attract vandals and teens looking for a place to hang out, Philips told lohud.com, the town has moved in to remove potentially hazardous materials and plans to tidy up the house’s yard.
It acted after it got complaints from neighbors, lohud.com reported.
According to an earlier report by the Daily Voice, State Sens. Jeffrey Klein and Davic Carlucci released a report in May showing that "zombie" homes were costing Rockland property owners $9.6 million in depreciated home values.
That figure has since dropped to about $6.2 million and the number of "zombie" homes – estimated at 207 – should decrease as well, the senators said.
Legislation that requires banks to maintain these properties is expected to take effect in December.
There is a hotline where abandoned properties can be reported and a state Division of Financial Services registry to track them.
The legislation will also provide funds to municipalities to maintain abandoned properties that are in disrepair.
Banks can be fined $500 a day if they fail to such maintain the properties under the new law.