The Legal Aid Society and Other Advocates Praise New York City Council for New Legislation Protecting Senior Citizens and Low Income New Yorkers From Losing Their Homes Due to Water and Tax Liens

The New York City Council has passed new legislation that protects senior citizens and low income New Yorkers who have been threatened with foreclosure because of a tax or water liens. Many of them should have been exempt from the lien sale because of age or income but either did not receive proper notification of the exemption or did not understand the notices. The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC and the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) supported the New York City Council in this important effort.

“These protections were desperately needed,” said Oda Friedheim, a Senior Staff Attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit. “With astronomical fees and interest rates of 18%, the liens that were sold caused substantial financial harm for the families and seniors that were most struggling to stay afloat and make ends meet in tough economic times.” Read Oda's testimony before the New York City Council.

The newly passed legislation will expand notification to four notices sent to the homeowner; provide targeted outreach to homeowners who may be eligible for exemptions; significantly decrease the interest rate charged on liens that have been sold to third parties; increase transparency and accountability for fees that are charged after the liens have been sold, to prevent fee-gouging by the third parties who purchase the liens; and provide affordable payment plans for homeowners who are very low income.