City grants property owners another month to avoid tax lien sale

De Blasio announced that the annual sale will be held in September

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)

After facing repeated criticism that elected officials haven’t provided adequate relief to property owners during the pandemic, the de Blasio administration is postponing its annual tax lien sale for another month.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced that the city’s lien sale on overdue property taxes, as well as water and sewer bills, will be held in September. The sale was originally slated for May 15 and was rescheduled for August as the coronavirus crisis took hold.

“We must build a fair and equitable recovery for the working people of our city,” the mayor said in a statement. “Postponing the lien sale will give some relief to those struggling to make ends meet, and more time for New Yorkers to apply for our hardship programs.”

Typically the city notifies owners starting three months prior to the sale that their property is at risk of being on the lien sale list. According to the city, more than 80 percent of owners end up avoiding the sale by paying their bills, entering a payment plan or qualifying for an exemption. Otherwise, the city sells the owners’ outstanding debt to a non-profit trust, which can ultimately move to foreclose on the unpaid taxes and take control of the property.

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The announcement comes the same day that the mayor signed into law a bill that provides property tax relief to some owners. The bill frees some owners — those who can 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 — from paying interest on late tax payments.

Property owners criticized the measure for not going far enough, and the month-long delay in the city’s tax lien sale isn’t likely to satisfy calls for additional relief. Meanwhile, tenant advocates held a rally Tuesday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to keep housing court closed and cancel rent payment obligations.

Write to Kathryn Brenzel at