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Cleaning Up ’Zombie Homes’

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Cleaning Up ’Zombie Homes’

ELMIRA (WENY) -- A new legislative effort would require mortgage lenders to maintain so-called "zombie properties."
     Mayors across several cities, including Elmira, are backing The proposal by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that would make banks and other lenders responsible for homes that were abandoned after the start of a foreclosure.
     15,000 properties in New York State are said to be zombie foreclosures.
     These homes are often run down and are a burden on local governments.
     Now, this new bill aims to clean up communities.
     There's an attack on the zombies... Zombie properties that is.
     Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore and 15 other lawmakers are on board with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act
     Making banks and lenders responsible for homes that were abandoned due to foreclosure.
     "A house is foreclosed on and it goes through the procedures but the bank never takes the titles, so they called them zombies because they are not really alive and they're not really dead," said Mayor Skidmore.
     Because of that, these home are in limbo, not owned by the bank or the person who handed over their deed.
     Mayor Skidmore says taxpayers shouldn't be responsible for the upkeep of the zombie homes when they are devaluing neighboring properties and inviting crime in the community.
     "If the state would say doesn't matter if the bank put their name on it," said Skidmore. "And that's what the bill says. It doesn't matter if they put their name on it. If the home is foreclosed, it's their responsibility."
     Danny Eldiqran and his family just moved to Elmira 8 months ago.
     They live right across the street from an abandoned home on west water street.
     He says the building is an eye sore.
     He hopes this new legislation passes because the home is troublesome for everyone.
     "I support it," said Eldridran.  "If it's to better the community. I'm for it."
     Homeowners are legally allowed to stay in their homes until the forclosure is complete.
     For more information you can call the statewide foreclosure hotline:
     855-HOME-456 and visit http://www.aghomehelp.com/ to connect with organizations and agencies in their area that can provide foreclosure prevention services.