A big reason that private owners of vacant and abandoned properties in our neighborhoods don’t face consequences when they don’t pay taxes and let weeds and trash pile up on their properties is that the City sells the tax debt to private collection agencies instead of keeping the debt and enforcing it. This is done through the “Tax Lien Sale.”
The NYC City Council has convened a Tax Lien Sale Task Force to study the impacts of the sale. We wrote a letter to the Task Force – on behalf of everyone who has gotten in touch to ask us what they could do about the rat-and-weed infested lot on their block – describing the impact of vacant and abandoned properties on neighborhoods. Get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to tell the Task Force about how the awful privately-owned, tax-delinquent lot on your block affects you!
The Tax Lien Sale also makes trouble for not-for-profit organizations that own land. With the collaboration of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, we saved the 1100 Bergen Community Garden and the Merrick Marsden Garden from disappearing to private development due to tax lien foreclosure last year. Now the Tax Lien Sale is the reason that the Imani garden is at risk.