The Real Deal New York

City delays tax lien sales for houses of worship, other nonprofits

They'll have three more weeks to avoid a city tax lien sale, despite exempt status
June 01, 2017 03:50PM

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Credit: Getty Images)

Churches, synagogues and other houses of worship and nonprofits facing the possibility of a tax lien sale will have three extra weeks to figure out how to steer clear of the road leading to foreclosure, despite their tax-exempt status.

That’s because property tax rules still require such organizations to file their property tax exemptions every year. But if they miss the deadline, the city can place a lien on such properties in the amount of tax that would be owed without an exemption, and then sell it off. Lien buyers, often hedge funds, can foreclose on those properties.

“It’s an escalating problem,” attorney Paula Segal of the Urban Justice Center told Crain’s. “It’s been worse every year.”

The city’s 2017 tax lien sale includes 235 properties that would normally have tax-exempt status. That list is now released annually following a bill passed by City Council.

In May, a Brooklyn court moved to dismiss thousands of inactive foreclosure cases. [Crain’s]Will Parker