NY Lawmakers Propose Bill Banning Sale of Delinquent NYC Debts

Lawmakers in the New York legislature are trying to get a bill passed that would prohibit the city of New York from selling a portfolio of unpaid debts, which is scheduled to occur as soon as next week, until a year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo declares the state of emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic to be over.

The portfolio of 9,500 debts include unpaid property taxes and water and sewer fees. The city previously postponed a scheduled sale of debts back in May, citing the pandemic as the reason for the delay. Now, two lawmakers in the state legislature are trying to extend that delay for at least another year.

“COVID-19 has made this all but impossible to do on the scale that we need it to happen,” said state Sen. Leroy Comrie, a Democrat from Queens, according to a published report. “The tax lien sale can’t happen this year, and I’m going to raise hell between now and September 4th to see to it that it doesn’t.”

Sen. Comrie has introduced Senate Bill S8921, a one-sentence bill that would delay the city’s attempt to sell its portfolio of delinquent debts until one year from the date that the emergency is declared over by Gov. Cuomo.

Liens have already been placed on the unpaid debts in question. Once sold, the homeowners must then work out payment arrangements with whomever purchases the liens, or their properties can be seized or foreclosed upon. A foreclosure can be initiated six months and 30 days after the lien has been sold, if a repayment plan has not been entered into.

“With thousands in our city struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including many homeowners in my Assembly district and across Queens, it is absolutely unconscionable to hold the tax lien sale in 2020,” said Assemblyman David Weprin, another Queens Democrat who is pushing the legislation.

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