Lawmakers urge kicking property tax can down the road

The annual tax lien sale is slated for September 4, after being delayed twice

New York /
Aug.August 24, 2020 03:00 PM
Assembly member David Weprin and Sen. Leroy Comrie (Getty, NY State Senate)

Assembly member David Weprin and Sen. Leroy Comrie (Getty, NY State Senate)

State legislators are calling for another postponement of New York City’s annual sale of delinquent property tax bills.

As the New York Post first reported, Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assembly member David Weprin have introduced a bill to keep 9,500 residential and commercial properties from foreclosure. This would mark the third time the sale — which was originally scheduled for May 15 — has been delayed in light of the pandemic.

The two Queens democratic lawmakers organized a rally at 250 Broadway Monday to decry the tax lien sale, which Mayor Bill de Blasio in July postponed until Sept. 4.

“The tax lien sale can’t happen this year, and I’m going to raise hell between now and Sept. 4 to see to it that it doesn’t,” Comrie told the Post.

The measure is the latest proposal to delay, rather than fix, economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. Whenever the property tax sale is scheduled, property owners with unpaid taxes may face a reckoning.

Delinquent owners can save their properties by paying their bills, entering into a payment plan or qualifying for an exemption. But if they do not, the outstanding debt is sold to a nonprofit trust which can then foreclose on the property.

Meanwhile, property owners have said that the city has not done enough to bail out those stuck with non-paying tenants. Most commercial and residential evictions are still on hold, while the city has given a respite on late tax payments for some property owners.

To be eligible for the benefit, property owners must demonstrate a Covid-related financial hardship and have either already deferred their property taxes or have a property assessed for less than $250,000 and an income of less than $150,000.


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