New York Imposes Extensive Requirements for Maintenance of Vacant and Abandoned Properties

New regulations issued by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) that require mortgage lenders and servicers to inspect, secure and maintain residential properties that are believed to be vacant and abandoned took effect on Tuesday. The regulation expands on a law Governor Andrew Cuomo signed in June.  In addition to the regulation, the NYDFS published a Residential Foreclosure Actions Consumer Bill of Rights.

In brief, the inspection, maintenance, and reporting obligations are:

Inspection: Servicers must inspect the property and determine occupancy within 90 days of delinquency. If three subsequent inspections with a 35-day maximum period result in no evidence of occupancy, then the property is deemed abandoned. There are also other signifiers that may deem the property abandoned immediately.

Maintenance: Servicers must replace locks, board or replace windows, winterize plumbing and heating systems, remove or remediate health violations and rectify municipal code violations.

 

Reporting: Mortgagees or servicers must report vacant and abandoned property within 21 business days of learning that the property is abandoned.  They must also submit quarterly reports detailing security and maintenance efforts and the status of any foreclosure proceedings.

 

Violations are subject to a civil penalty of $500 per day per property.