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Home | K&S Blog | New N.Y.C. Law Allows Tax Liens to be Sold for Water and Sewer Changes
New N.Y.C. Law Allows Tax Liens to be Sold for Water and Sewer Changes

03/10/2008


New York City has undertaken an advertising campaign to notify homeowners and commercial property owners of the new law, recently passed by the New York City Council and Albany to allow New York City to sell real estate properties to pay for the water and sewer liens that currently encumber such property.

The law is beneficial in that it requires everyone to pay their water and sewer tax bills or risk losing their homes/properties. However, a nasty side effect will occur when individuals who don’t even know about their water and sewer bills may lose their properties for a paltry few thousand dollars.

This is another example of government run amok. For example, Mrs. Kay, owner of a $600,000 home in Brooklyn, New York will be subject to the summary loss of her entire life’s investment because of a $2, 050 water and sewer bill that she may not even know about.

Rest assured, there will be an enormous amount of litigation stemming from water and sewer foreclosures in cases such as the one described above.

New York City can improve this law, and provide proper weights and balances, by implementing some of the following protections:


Any water and sewer bill less than $5,000 would be subject to a longer notice period of at least 150 days. This would allow multiple notices to be sent to the property owner.

There should be a minimum of 4 notices sent to any homeowner with water and sewer liens of less than $5,000.

Anyone who has property sold because of a water and sewer tax lien should have a 120 day, right of redemption, to pay off all the water/sewer liens on his/her property.

With the introduction of these minor safeguards, the excesses of the tax lien program would be eliminated in one full swoop.

Mayor Bloomberg and members of the City Council, are you listening? --Edward E. Klein

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