City of Buffalo Issues Summonses to Banks
Holding Mortgages on Abandoned Properties
Buffalo, a city which has less than 300,000 people, has an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 abandoned properties, according to a report in BusinessWeek by Michael Orey quoted in The Wall Street Journal on January 5. A local housing court judge has deemed that New York State's law saying that property owners include those who have "control" over property means that lenders have responsibility for vacant properties. The City issued fines of high as $15,000 to the banks holding the loans. Community service sentences are also being considered. In addition, the banks might be subject to liens that would prevent them from buying or selling other properties in the area, according to the report. These tactics have been applied to reduce blight in Cleveland.