New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that a plan by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito to have the city seize properties using eminent domain as a way for homeowners to avoid foreclosure is something that is not viable.
Ms. Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem, is proposing that the city take ownership of the homes away from banks so that troubled homeowners can keep their homes. Mr. Schneiderman says that it can be risky for the city — or any other municipal government — to acquire private property this way, adding that if the city attempts to do this and it’s not done the right way, there could be unfavorable legal consequences for the city.
Mr. Schneiderman cited a similar plan adopted by the city council in Richmond, California that is facing skepticism. On September 11, the Richmond City Council voted 4-3 to allow the city to acquire “underwater” homes from lending institutions so borrowers can stay in their houses. The bill passed, 4-3. Those who voted against the bill said it would open the city to lawsuits and face a backlash from the lending industry.
Bottom line: Don’t wait for eminent domain to save your home. If you are facing foreclosure, contact our office or another attorney experienced in handling these matters. There are a number of legal options available to you.