De Blasio announces delay of tax lien sale until Sept. 25
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha announced on Friday the postponement of the annual tax lien sale until Sept. 25, 2020 to give New Yorkers additional time to pay debt or enter into payment plans.
The City will continue its outreach efforts to affected homeowners.
“COVID-19 has hit the pocketbooks of New Yorkers hard, and we’re doing whatever we can to give New Yorkers some relief,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Postponing the lien sale will allow New Yorkers more time to work with the city on their best path forward.”
The lien sale is administered by the NYC Department of Finance, which sells overdue property taxes, water and sewer charges, and other property charges to a non-profit trust.
The agency sends out four warning notices to property owners starting three months prior to the sale, alerting them that the property is at risk of being on the lien sale list.
More than 80 percent of owners pay the full amount owed, enter into payment plans, or obtain an exemption that removes them from the at-risk pool.
DOF also advertises at-risk properties and conducts extensive outreach to property owners at risk of having their liens sold, often partnering with community groups and elected officials to reach as many property owners as possible.
The sale was originally scheduled to occur in May 2020, but it was previously postponed until Sept. 4 as the City focused its efforts on the COVID-19 outbreak.
On August 31, Attorney General Letitia James and a group of 57 elected officials urged the delay of the lien sale. In a letter, Attorney General James the group called for the removal of more than 4,700 Class 1 Properties, or residential buildings with three or fewer units, from the sale.
“As the economic impacts of COVID-19 rage on, the tax lien sale puts an unnecessary financial burden on New York’s homeowners, and especially communities of color,” said James. “It is the responsibility of government to relieve the financial hardships of the people wherever possible, not exacerbate them. I am proud that my office worked with Governor Cuomo and his team to take immediate action to protect hardworking homeowners during this stressful time.”
“COVID-19 caused enormous disruption in the daily lives of New Yorkers, including their ability to keep a roof over their head,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “The tax and water lien sale was delayed in May in recognition of this hardship, and given the current economic climate it makes sense to delay it again so that homeowners aren’t facing further uncertainty. This measure is part and parcel with our ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers weather the ongoing public health emergency.”
Property owners who are facing hardships making their property tax payments can take advantage of several existing DOF programs. These include exemption programs to lower the amount of taxes owed, standard payment plans, or a new Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) program, for those who qualify.
DOF also provides a monthly property tax billing service to facilitate budgeting for property owners billed on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. More information on those programs can be found on the agency’s website.
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