Banks agree to maintain 'zombie' homes in NY

A deal was announced Monday that would require some abandoned and foreclosed properties to be better maintained.

As News 12 and Newsday have previously reported, Long Island leads the state in so-called "zombie" homes, many of which are poorly maintained by banks. A total of 11 major financial institutions and mortgage companies agreed to much higher maintenance standards during the foreclosure process.

The 11 banks that have agreed to the new rules represent about 70 percent of the mortgage holders on Long Island.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo helped broker the deal.

"This action... should serve as a model for protecting neighborhoods from the dangers of vacant and abandoned properties in the future," said Cuomo.

Even though many are pleased that 11 banks have agreed to take more responsibility, some believe a state law needs to be passed that would require all banks that do business in New York to maintain their abandoned homes.

The state Legislature is considering a bill that would increase fines for banks that fail to maintain homes. It's being pushed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who called Monday's agreements "a welcome step forward."

The New York State Bankers Association told News 12 that it isn't happy about the deal. It feels lawmakers should concentrate on speeding up the foreclosure process in New York, which is one of the longest in the nation.

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