HAUPPAUGE - Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday aimed at combatting unkempt neighborhood eyesores known as "zombie homes."
As News 12 has reported, abandoned properties have become a menace in communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. There are over 760 zombie homes in Suffolk County alone, the most for any county in New York.
Under the new legislation, mortgage lenders will meet with struggling homeowners during mandatory settlement conferences. The governor says the goal is to create an environment that allows homeowners to keep their homes.
Under the bill, if the bank cannot come to terms with the owner and the home is vacated, it is now on the bank to maintain the house. If the bank fails to maintain the home, they will face a $500 fine per day, and the local government or even the state can ultimately step in and take possession of the home.
Velene Gallagher, the executive director of the Central Islip Civic Council, says the new law brings hope to the community she represents.
"I don't think it's going to happen overnight, but I think it's going to be a positive change," says Gallagher.