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'Zombie' Homes On The Decline In Rockland, Lawmakers Say

A new law governing the maintenance of abandoned properties will take effect in December, but state lawmakers and other officials say more still needs to be done. Photo Credit: Zak Failla
Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx/Westchester, who sponsored legislation aimed at cutting the number of so-called "zombie" homes, says while the numbers are going in the right direction, there's still much work to be done on the issue of blight. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
State Sen. David Carlucci, D-Rockland/Westchester, is urging Rockland residents to make use of a hotline to report so-called "zombie homes." A law requiring mortgage holders to maintain abandoned properties takes effect in New York this December. Photo Credit: File

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- The number of so-called “zombie” homes is on the decline in Rockland even though the law requiring mortgage holders to maintain abandoned properties doesn’t go into effect for four months, according to two state lawmakers.

State Sens. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx/Westchester, who sponsored the legislation, and David Carlucci, D-Rockland/Westchester, who supported it, announced this week that there are now approximately 207 such properties, as opposed to 272 found last May.

While thrilled with the decline, Klein and Carlucci still urged taxpayers to report suspected “zombie” homes in their areas by calling a state hotline at (800)-342-3736.

Nyack Mayor Jennifer White and Bonnie Christian, the mayor of South Nyack, also urged resident to make use of the hotline.

“By working together, we can continue this encouraging progress, and recover from this blight,” Klein said.

Owning a home is one of the most important investments anyone can make, noted Carlucci.

But homes that are in disrepair not only create eyesores, but drive down property values, the senator said.

By keeping on top of the situation, residents themselves can help keep “zombie” homes from doing “further damage,” he added.

Despite this good news, said Klein and Carlucci, abandoned properties continue to cost Rockland homeowners more than $6.2 million in house value depreciation. That figure is down from $9.6 million in May, they said.

Christian said that many municipalities struggle with the issue and “South Nyack is no exception.”

The legislation “has been a long time coming,” the mayor said, promising that her village will “definitely take advantage of this new law to protect the health of our residents and the values of our properties.”

White said the new law “is not only important, it is imperative.”

“Zombie” homes are “not only a blight on their neighborhood and their own property values, but also a danger to children, the elderly and to all of us,” she said, adding: “This is a huge step in the right direction and we are very grateful.”

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