Zombie Homes Initiative

“Zombie homes” can be defined as vacant, deteriorated small homes whose owners are behind on their mortgage payments. 

These properties are symbols of the effects of the foreclosure crisis in neighborhoods throughout the city. Owners of small homes are confronted with rising operating and maintenance costs, encounter barriers to credit, and struggle to make mortgage payments. Hurricane Sandy exacerbated these issues, damaging thousands of properties, forcing many struggling owners to leave these properties behind.

Thanks to funding from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, HPD launched the Zombie Homes Initiative in July 2017, a one-year pilot program. Through this initiative, HPD will conduct exterior surveys of zombie homes; aggregate information about zombie homes through a new database; design new approaches to return zombie homes to productive use; and conduct outreach to homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

 

Additionally, HPD will help enforce the Zombie Property and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2016 (the “Zombie Law”), new state legislation requiring lenders and servicers to inspect, secure, maintain, and report zombie homes to the New York State Department of Financial Services. HPD will collect evidence of zombie homes that are not being maintained and share it with the New York City Law Department, which will pursue legal action against the banks and servicers as appropriate.

What You Can Do

Complete HPD’s Zombie Homes Information Form

Please help HPD understand the “zombie homes” problem in New York City by completing the form below about vacant and/or abandoned, small homes in your neighborhood. Answer all questions to the best of your knowledge. Please note that this form is for vacant buildings, not vacant lots, and it is not a substitute for submitting a complaint to 311 or 911.

Click here to complete the Zombie Homes Information Form.

The information you provide will help us find out how many zombie homes there are in New York City and where they are located. We will use this information to develop strategies to address vacant and blighted properties in New York City neighborhoods.

What you can expect

HPD is collecting information about potential zombie homes for research and analysis and the development of long-term strategies. Completing this form is not the same as making an official complaint and will not result in City action (e.g. lot clean-up, securing an open building, pest control). If you believe a particular property needs to be addressed, please follow the following steps, in addition to completing the information form:

  • If the building presents an immediate danger or you suspect any illegal activity, please call 911.
  • If the building is unsecured, please report it to 311 for a Department of Buildings inspection.
  • If the building appears to be structurally unsound, please report it to 311 for a Department of Buildings inspection.
  • If there is a public health risk (e.g. rodent activity, dirty sidewalk, or standing water that breeds mosquitoes), please report it to 311 for a lot clean-up.

Call the Homeowner Hotline

If you are struggling to make mortgage payments, please call the Center for New York City Neighborhoods Homeowner Hotline at (646) 786-0888. The Center provides a variety of free and high-quality services for homeowners.

Submit a Complaint to the NYS Department of Financial Services

You may also file a complaint with the New York State Department of Financial Services to help gather evidence of mortgage holders’ non-compliance with the NYS Zombie Property and Foreclosure Prevention Act. File a complaint by calling their consumer complaint hotline at (800) 342-3736 or by filling out a consumer complaint form. Please note that this form is not a substitute for submitting a complaint to 311 or 911.