You are reading

Queens Legislators Introduce Bill to Postpone Tax Lien Sale to Help Struggling New Yorkers

NYS Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblyman David Weprin (Twitter Photo)

Aug. 27, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Two Queens lawmakers have introduced legislation that aims to block the de Blasio administration from holding its up-coming lien sale to help struggling homeowners at risk of losing their homes.

The administration’s annual lien sale is set for Sept. 4, after being postponed from its original May date due to COVID-19. The city will auction debt on tax-delinquent properties to private debt collectors.

State Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member David Weprin have introduce a bill that would bar the city from holding a lien sale until at least one year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifts the emergency order declaring that the pandemic is over.

The two lawmakers hope their bill to delay the lien sale would give people more time to get on their feet following the employment turmoil caused by the pandemic.

The city sells liens to debt collection companies that put together a payment plan–that includes interest– with property owners. If the property owners fail to pay they risk losing their property.

“The tax lien sale can’t happen this year, and I’m going to raise hell between now and Sept. 4 to see to it that it doesn’t,” Comrie said in a statement.

His Southeast Queens district, which is still recovering from the mortgage crisis, has as many as 600 homes eligible for this year’s lien sale.

He said the pandemic has prevented at-risk homeowners from being able to address their tax delinquency. COVID-19 has also made it difficult for the senator’s office to work with the Department of Finance to identify and assist those at risk of losing their homes, as it has done in years past.

“Homeowners facing the lien sale need ample time to consult with attorneys, enter into payment agreements [with the Dept. of Finance], and learn about exemption programs ahead of the sale,” Comrie said. “COVID-19 has made this all but impossible to do on the scale that we need it to happen.”

Comrie introduced the bill in the senate on Aug. 19. Weprin is the Assembly sponsor.

“With thousands in our city struggling with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including many homeowners in my Assembly district and across Queens, it is absolutely unconscionable to hold the tax lien sale in 2020,” Weprin said in a statement.

Housing advocates praised the lawmakers’ legislation and said the lien sale needs to be postponed.

“Now is not the time to amplify housing insecurity in communities of color or among seniors,” said Ivy Perez, spokesperson for the Coalition for Affordable Homes, which represents over 30 affordable housing advocacy organizations.

“Those same communities, most of them low- or moderate-income, have been hardest-hit by COVID-19, and the tax lien sale threatens to further destabilize them.”

Property owners who owe money currently have until Sept. 3 to pay their debts or enter into a payment agreement with the Department of Finance to avoid being part of the lien sale.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946-50 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.