Pheffer Amato Urges de Blasio, Department of Finance to Cancel Tax Lien Sales for 2020
Rockaway Beach, Queens This week, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach), sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) urging them to cancel this years tax lien sale due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Under normal circumstances, the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) would have conducted extensive outreach to property owners/individuals on the tax lien list, including in-person clinics to ensure that property owners understand the lien sale process and ensure that these individuals can enter into payment plans, apply for the appropriate property tax exemptions, with the eventual hope of paying off their arrears. However, due to the pandemic DOF has been unable to conduct in-person outreach events leaving thousands of property owners with little to no information and resources on how to get off the lien sale list. This year, out of the nearly 10,000 properties on the tax lien eligibility list, more than 5,000 are single family homes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of New Yorkers have been pushed into financial disarray and uncertainty due to job and income losses, leaving many unsure of how they will continue to provide for their families or meet their overall housing expenses. Having a lien sold on their property and/or home during a global pandemic is reckless and would only further the economic strain of thousands of families throughout our city including seniors and those most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, Pheffer Amato stated. Without appropriate outreach and information given to the public it is unconscionable for DOF to move forward with the tax lien sale as planned.
Pheffer Amato concluded her letter by requesting that Mayor de Blasios office look into the possibility of canceling the tax lien sale for 2020.