BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant top the list of the most at-risk Brooklyn communities for the city’s tax lien sale, according to city figures.
The two areas have the most one- to four-family homes in the borough with unpaid debt, including property taxes, water bills and other charges, according to the Center for NYC Neighborhoods.
The city’s most populous borough had the greatest number of properties on the 60-day lien sale list, with 6,896 one- to four-family homes.
Each year, the Department of Finance sells liens on properties that have unpaid debts. Without payment or a city payment plan, a third party becomes the lien holder and has the power to foreclose on a home.
In 2013, nearly 600 actions were taken throughout the five boroughs, and the majority were foreclosures, according to Matthew Hassett, CNYCN's director of policy and communications.
“Even if someone is unsure that they’re on the city’s list, if they have a water bill that has been due for a long time, they should consider checking it out,” Hassett said.
Individuals with outstanding balances will receive five notices from the city before the May 15 sale. Three have already been mailed out since October, according to a Department of Finance representative.
Once a tax lien is sold to a third-party collection agency, the company can add fees and interest up to 18% on the debt, representatives said.
In Bed-Stuy, organizations like Bridge Street Development Corporation go door-to-door to homes on the city’s list and work with the neighborhood block associations to spread the word.