The Aug. 3 Journal News article, "As foreclosures rise, towns step up to maintain vacant properties," highlights the dire situation that the Hudson Valley is experiencing with foreclosed properties.
As your publication previously reported, since 2005, foreclosures in Westchester County rose 104 percent and default filings increased 244 percent to 1,033. Yonkers and other urban areas were hit especially hard because they were disproportionately targeted for subprime mortgages by predatory lenders. In addition, as your article mentioned, local governments are burdened with the responsibility of maintaining the properties that become vacant, expenses that are ultimately and unfairly passed down to taxpayers. This needs to stop.
That's why I sponsored legislation that has passed the state Assembly and awaits Senate action that would require the plaintiff in a foreclosure proceeding to keep the property in a safe and habitable condition until it is sold (A.8917-A). Holding financial institutions that initiate foreclosures responsible for maintaining the properties will help keep our families safe, preserve the value of our homes and help our community survive the effects of the mortgage crisis.
The author is the New York State Assemblyman representing the 93rd District.