De Blasio admin. moves to strip equity from hundreds of homes in black and Hispanic neighborhoods in "third-party transfer" foreclosures
2019-05-19 — nydailynews.com
In the Council districts that include Williamsburg, Bushwick, Brownsville and East New York, the city has initiated third-party proceedings on at least 107 homes and foreclosed on 20. In three South Bronx districts, 83 third-party proceedings have been launched since 2015, records show. Of those, 18 properties have changed hands.
The city has foreclosed on 62 properties citywide through the program overall since 2015, officials said. Critics from homeowners to elected officials and lawyer-advocates claim the city has failed to notify property owners who are losing long-term investments.
"A lot of these homeowners had no idea these properties were being taken out from under them," said Scott Kohanowski, an attorney and the director of the Homeowner Stability Project. "And the city takes all that equity. That's the most appalling part."
City officials contend they notify both landlords and tenants through mailed notices, robocalls, flyers and forums. But some say tenants don't find out about what's happening until it's too late.
A lawyer for tenants at a foreclosure in the Bronx, Serge Joseph, said their co-op board did not receive notice.
"[The city] told people there would be no more shareholding, but they didn't explain anything. They didn't say why," Jones said. "This whole group is just taking away people's housing. That's their purpose."
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