Kennedy and Ryan were in front of one such foreclosed home, at 35 Gary Lane in Cheektowaga. “When you walk along Gary Lane in Cheektowaga, you’ll be welcomed by attractive homes, well-kept lawns and friendly neighbors,” said Kennedy. “But when you come to 35 Gary Lane, you will see first-hand how the recklessness of Wall Street has afflicted our neighborhoods in Western New York.”
Kennedy and Ryan are introducing legislation that will force banks to provide property maintenance when they cause foreclosure delay. It would require banks to maintain vacant properties like 35 Gary Lane that are left in foreclosure-delay limbo, preventing blight from claiming another neighborhood in Western New York. Kennedy and Ryan are also working to pass legislation that would require banks to help homeowners stave off foreclosure through early notification and support initiatives.
“The road from Wall Street to Main Street is being littered with abandoned and neglected properties. This problem is not unique to Cheektowaga – it has distressed neighborhoods in Buffalo, Lackawanna and beyond,” Kennedy said. “The very mortgage industry that caused the collapse of the housing market bears responsibility for the current foreclosure crisis. The big banks blighting our community must be held accountable, and this legislation will help do exactly that. It will send a message to Wall Street: You made this mess; you clean it up. I urge my colleagues in Albany to help us protect neighborhoods like Gary Lane from the destruction often left behind by the big banks’ blind pursuit of profits.”
Ryan said, “The legislation we are presenting today would create a two-pronged approach to help deal with the ongoing problem of foreclosures in our communities. This legislation would hold banks accountable by making sure they give proper notice and provide support when a mortgage has fallen behind, and if a foreclosure were to occur, banks would be required to ensure that a property does not fall into disrepair. Blight from foreclosed properties occurs far too often, and the big banks have an obligation to maintain foreclosed properties so that they do not contribute to neighborhood decay. It's about time we put some rules into place that hold the banks accountable.”
The lawmakers want to prevent foreclosure from happening. They’ve introduced legislation that will require banks to act swiftly and responsively to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Banks and other mortgage holders will be required to notify property owners who have fallen behind on their mortgages of resources and services available to assist them through what can be a stressful and confusing process. After a mortgage loan has been in default for 30 days, a written notice will be sent to the property owner informing them of the status of their loan, opportunities to help them avert foreclosure and responsibilities to maintain the property even though it is in default.
Second, Kennedy and Ryan want banks to be held accountable when they delay the foreclosure process. Hundreds of homes in Western New York fall into foreclosure and too many first get stuck in a foreclosure-delay limbo. The banks delay foreclosure proceedings and continue paying property taxes – which prevents the municipal government from doing any property maintenance and blocks any county efforts to commence tax foreclosure proceedings. The end result is a home falling into disrepair, causing blight to an otherwise strong neighborhood.