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Attorney General James joins effort to halt NYC tax lien sale

September 1, 2020 David Brand
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New York Attorney General Letitia James has joined a growing coalition of elected officials urging New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove small properties from the city’s tax lien sale.

The annual sale, in which private servicing companies purchase property tax debt, will take place Sept. 4 after the May 15 date was postponed.

In a letter Aug. 30, James and 57 other elected officials called on the city to remove 4,700 residential properties consisting of three or fewer units.

The tax lien sale jeopardizes property owners’ ability to retain their homes. If homeowners do not enter into a payment agreement with the lien-holder, they risk having their property seized. Meanwhile, fees and compounding daily interest rates of up to 18 percent can spiral out of control for homeowners, forcing them toward foreclosure.

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“Now is the time to support hardworking homeowners, not saddle them with undue financial burden,” James said. “The tax lien sale has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and will only exacerbate the financial hardships so many are already facing in the middle of a pandemic. It’s incumbent on government to protect the people — not kick them when they’re already down — and I urge Mayor de Blasio to take action immediately.”

City officials say they will proceed with the Sept. 4 sale because the eligible tax liens were accrued prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  1. Black Voices for Black Lives

    Policies and unfair laws that allow the working class citizens to have their homes stolen with the blessing of a Democratic Mayor, Governor and State Attorny General for delinquent taxes is just another form exploitation. When Trump said all the challenges that Black folks have in the inner cities is the result of Democratic mismanagement.

  2. Greg Todd

    The city never had tax lien sales at all prior to the Ghouliani mayoralty. Title was taken directly by the city through in rem proceedings. If this policy had not been abandoned, the city would be billions of dollars richer and wealthy investors billions of dollars poorer. Why isn’t anybody saying this!!!