As a result of a legislation passed in 2009, local banks are now responsible for repairing foreclosed property that they own.
Residents of Throggs Neck saw the immediate benefits of this legislation which was championed by Senator Jeff Klein and requires banks to clean up any dilapidated property that they foreclose.
Most recently, neighborhood resident Judy Boschamp noticed a house leaking water on Swinton Avenue and notified Senator Klein’s office, which notified property-owner Citibank, who in turn was responsible for cleaning the property.
“It’s the bank’s responsibility,” said Lynn Gerbino, president of the Throgs Neck Home Owners Association. “The banks were so quick to take everybody’s stimulus money.”
Gerbino said that foreclosed properties have become more of an issue in the neighborhood over the past few years and homes that have been vacated due to foreclosure can present a wide range of problems.
“When the economy turned in 2008 we started noticing it more. If it’s affecting the people in the community it’s a serious problem,” Gerbino said. “We had one home that people were selling drugs from. The leaking water on the Swinton Avenue property had to be stopped because it could affect the foundations of the homes around it.”
Boschamp, who was not available for comment, filed the complaint with Klein’s office on Wednesday, January 5tand the property was cleaned up the week of January 18.
The Swinton Avenue property, a 1,178 square foot, singl- family house, was purchased for $115,000 in 2003.
Klein’s office says the legislation, signed into law in 2009 by Governor Patterson, has forced banks to clean up many foreclosed properties across the state and in the Bronx and the law was designed to protect neighboring property values and prevent health hazards that surround an unkempt, foreclosed home.
It requires lending institutions to maintain foreclosed properties and make sure they are safe and habitable when occupied by tenants and Senator Klein believes the enforcement of the law has gone well so far.
“I think judges around the state are enforcing my law. In New York City, it’s the buildings department,” Klein said. “It’s a very good type of impetus for banks to repair their properties. If I can move things along and get them to maintain the properties we can make sure the communities don’t suffer at all.”