“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.
Thanks to funding from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), HPD launched the Zombie Homes Initiative in July 2017 to help implement and enforce the NYS Zombie Property and Foreclosure Act of 2016. The "Zombie Law" is state legislation requiring lenders and servicers to inspect, secure, maintain, and report zombie homes to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Through the initiative, HPD:
As of July 2019, HPD has conducted more than 500 exterior surveys of likely zombie homes, sent mailings and robocalls to more than 30,000 homeowners at risk of foreclosure with information about foreclosure-prevention resources, and referred 38 zombie homes to the Law Department. The Law Department has finalized settlement agreements on six of these properties and collected more than $180,000 in civil penalties. They are currently reviewing and negotiating settlements on the remaining properties.
In May 2019, LISC awarded HPD another grant to continue its work on zombie homes through June 2021. In addition to continuing its current work, HPD will support other municipalities that are interested in implementing similar initiatives and develop acquisition/disposition strategies to rehabilitate zombie homes and return them to productive use as affordable homeownership opportunities.
If you believe a particular property requires City action, please follow these steps:
HPD cannot facilitate the sale of zombie homes.
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.
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.