Report: New York City Properties Affected by Sale of Tax Liens
A brief released today by the NYU Furman Center describes the process of tax lien sales in New York City, which affected over 15,000 properties and roughly 43,600 residential units between 2010 and 2015.
The report, Selling the Debt: Properties Affected by the Sale of New York City Tax Liens (PDF), by NYU Furman Center Executive Director Jessica Yager and Policy Research Fellow Eric Stern, sheds light on New York City’s sale of unpaid municipal debts. The sale of tax liens in New York City has generated substantial revenue for the city; between 1997 and 2015, the city raised more than $1.3 billion. However, the city also has the power to remove liens eligible for sale from the lien sale list. Most notably, properties that meet a statutory definition of distressed cannot have liens sold. For these, the city must either foreclose on the lien itself or monitor the property for rehabilitation and preservation of the housing.
The report describes the characteristics of properties with liens sold in New York City between 2010 and 2015, including the property type, their location, and the outcome following the lien sale. The report finds that, between 2010 and 2015, tax lien sales were concentrated in central and eastern Brooklyn and southeast Queens. It separately analyzes the lots in New York City with two or more liens sold between 2010 and 2015, because the existence of multiple years of unpaid municipal debts may indicate a higher level of financial and/or physical distress.