The Real Deal New York

NYC homeowners owe the city nearly $187M in taxes

The city holds an annual sale of unpaid tax bills
March 08, 2017 11:20AM

As the annual tax lien sale approaches, the owners of more than 13,000 homes owe New York City $186.6 million in back taxes.

Of the money that is owed, water bills make up just under $76 million, the New York Post reported. Another $70.8 million is for property charges, $35.5 million is for emergency repairs, and $4.3 million is for miscellaneous charges, according to the newspaper.

Each year, the city sells liens to third-party tax lien trusts, which may foreclose on the property one year later. The city sends 90-, 60-, 30- and 10-day notices to the properties before the sale.

On the lien list this year, St. Peter’s Church at 22 Barclay and 18 Vesey streets in Lower Manhattan owes the city $121,422 because it did not file the proper paperwork to maintain tax-exempt status. A U.S. Post Office on Peartree Avenue in the Bronx’s Eastchester neighborhood owes the city $437,360, and another in Brooklyn owes $407,823.

Between 2008 and 2016, 354 of the 41,400 liens that were sold were foreclosed on.

The program is considered an effective way to bring in cash. Last year, the city collected $300 million from properties on the list between the time homeowners received a 90-day notice of the sale and the actual sale date. Last month, the city extended the program for another four years, with minor modifications.

“We don’t turn off water,” a Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson told the Post. “The lien sale is the main enforcement mechanism, and that’s why it was so important to get it reauthorized.”  [NYP]Miriam Hall