City to hold tax lien sale in May

Homeowners with outstanding bills can reach out to the Department of Finance for a payment plan

New York’s homeowners will have to pay their unpaid property taxes before May 15, or they could be at risk of losing their properties.

The city is holding a tax lien sale on May 15, when it will sell off unpaid property tax bills, water bills and other unpaid charges against properties to investors, according to the New York Post. Investors can then hike up interest rates, which in turn could force families into foreclosure, according to the newspaper.

This year’s lien sale list includes 24,181 properties, 16,121 of which are single-family homes, condos and co-ops, according the Center for New York City Neighborhoods.

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Last year, the city sold 2,729 tax liens for one- to three-family homes at an average of $12,000, according to the Post. Between 2009 and 2012, between 4,000 and 5,000 liens were sold each year. Value for those years ranged from $70 million to $110 million per year.

Homeowners are often not aware that they can negotiate a payment plan with the Department of Finance by calling 311. Some groups — such as senior citizens and veterans — are eligible for exemptions.

“The most important thing is that folks figure out how to resolve the outstanding debt now, before it goes into the lien sale,” Christie Peale, executive director of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, told the newspaper. [NYP] — Claire Moses