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State Attorney General Goes After "Zombie" Properties

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(AP & WXXI News) The mayors of  Rochester, Buffalo and 14 other cities in New York State have written to lawmakers asking them to pass legislation to require mortgage lenders to maintain so-called "zombie properties.''

The measure crafted by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would make banks and other lenders responsible for homes that have been abandoned after the start of a foreclosure. 

Zombie homes are properties that have been abandoned after their owners receive a notice of foreclosure  even though foreclosures can take years and occupants are entitled to stay until the process is completed. The homes often fall into disrepair, reducing property values and putting a drain on local governments. 

The letter from Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and the other mayors says that recent data shows that nearly 15 percent of all New York State residential mortgages could be classified as zombie properties.

Schneiderman's bill would authorize fines for lenders who fail to maintain abandoned homes.   He's asking lawmakers to pass the measure before adjourning this month.