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July 01, 2015 Urban Lawyer

Attack of the Zombie Properties

by Marissa Weiss

Marissa Weiss is currently a law student focusing on environmental and land use law at Pace Law School, where she is a research assistant to Professor John R. Nolon of the Land Use Law Center. She expects to graduate in 2017 with a J.D. and Certificate of Environmental Law from Pace, as well as a M.E.M. from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. This article is submitted on behalf of the Distressed Properties Sub-Committee of the Land Use Committee of the American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government Law.

The Great Recession of 2008 has ushered in a new reigning problem and hot topic in the world of distressed property. This problem is marked by empty buildings, some in utter disrepair, and most entirely abandoned. Zombies, vampires, and other things that go bump in the night still plague some properties. The real estate market is well immersed in its own American horror story.

Zombie properties are properties that have been abandoned in the wake of foreclosure; however, the foreclosure process is never completed. Therefore, the zombie title owner still legally possesses the property, although they are not taking responsibility for it. Specifically, New York State is currently struggling with its own zombie invasion and its current laws that govern foreclosures. Section 1307 of the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law states that a foreclosing entity only becomes responsible for a property’s maintenance once a judgment of foreclosure and sale is obtained.1 Often, the title owner assumes that the beginning of a foreclosure process signals that the lender (often the bank) is assuming responsibility for the property and that they must immediately vacate the property.2 This assumption fails to account for the fact that foreclosure processes are rarely timely and often take years to complete by obtaining a judgment of foreclosure and sale; some foreclosure processes are never completed.3 While the process moves along, the bank — which holds the lien on the property — will normally pay the taxes on the land to stop the municipality from regaining title to the property, but this is often where their involvement ends.4 As the property continues to degrade, representing potential safety concerns as well as surrounding property value depreciation, this lone property stands in a limbo be- tween life and death — between being owned and cared for and being completely ruined.5

As of January 2015, the database RealtyTrac estimated that there are 142,462 zombie properties in the United States.6 While the total number of zombies is down by six percent from 2014, the share of foreclosures represented by zombies is up from twenty-one to twenty-five percent.7 New York is the third most zombie-infested state with 16,777 total properties, behind Florida (35,903) and New Jersey (17,983).8 This massive inventory hurts the housing market, makes banks less willing to lend money for mortgages, and puts the onus entirely on cash-strapped municipalities to clean up these blighted properties.9 It is no wonder that this problem has caught the attention of the New York legislature; Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has called for action, stating that combatting zombies is a “no brainer” for the state.10

I.    The Role of State and Local Governments: Who is Responsible?

In the city of Newburgh, New York, zombies litter the streets. Officials roughly estimate that nearly ten percent of all homes — or over 600 properties — in the city are in some stage of “zombiefication.”11 These vacant and abandoned properties are not merely blighted eye- sores for neighbors and the city as a whole. Many lots are home to arson and theft, serving as an ideal space for drug dens, squatting, and prostitution.12 All of these problems contribute to unease about the safety of the neighborhood, which leads to dwindling property values, perpetuating a cycle of distress that municipalities like Newburgh cannot escape without serious intervention into the private market.13 This is a prime example of the economic “broken window theory.” Maintaining zombie properties helps preserve a local atmosphere of stability and lawfulness; however, once a couple of windows (or properties) are broken, those in charge become apathetic to spending their own money to repairing the problem as more and more windows are broken each day.14

In view of this apathy, who actually is responsible for breathing life back into these zombies? Better yet, who has the responsibility to prevent the properties from turning undead in the first place? And the most important question of all for lawyers: from whom do we demand a remedy when proactivity fails?

States and municipalities nationwide have attempted to provide answers to these questions by developing several responses to the zombie problem. These responses depend on mitigation of the following issues: (1) a lack of knowledge or notice about zombiefication, as well as a lack of owner contact information; (2) the property owner leaving the property before they are legally required to do so; (3) maintenance issues; and (4) the lengthy foreclosure process. What solution a government entity chooses depends entirely on specific, local and statewide issues within the jurisdiction. However, no matter the geo- graphical location, each of these responses address the same facets of the zombie virus infecting our nation’s real property.

A.  The No Knowledge or Notice Problem

As one would expect, the biggest problem surrounding zombies is that no one within the state knows how deeply the zombie problem runs within its borders. Frequently, banks and other lenders who begin the foreclosure process for a property do not have to give notice to anyone other than the property owner that a mortgage is in default.15 In addition, once a property begins to degrade after the foreclosure process begins, state and local governments often have little recourse to find contact information for the person or entity in charge of the now blighted property.16 Transparency is a big problem here, as state and local governments cannot begin to solve the zombie problem when they have no clear account of where the problem actually exists. In response to this problem, states have developed two strategies.

The first is to require that banks give notice to local governments when a property within their jurisdiction has defaulted.17 Hawaii currently serves as a model for state regulatory and legislative reform in regards to notice requirements.18 In 2013, Hawaii embarked on a public information campaign designed to inform Hawaii homeowners of the options they have within the foreclosure process.19 This campaign was solidified legislatively in the same year when the state adopted a bill that requires that notice be given to the borrower, mortgagor, and the mortgagee in the event that the lender postpones or cancels a sale in a foreclosure proceeding.20 This bill attacks the very heart of the zombie problem — lack of transparency and knowledge about the current legal state of the property — by simply requiring that every entity in the process be kept abreast of changes. Hawaii is a testament to the notion that education can combat zombies on a grassroots level.

While notice is the first step in remedying this dearth of knowledge, this response does not help the state and local governments past an individualized property standpoint. In order to tackle this problem, many jurisdictions have turned to vacant property registration ordinances (“VPROs”).21

Simply put, VPROs are regulations that track abandoned or vacant properties.22 These ordinances can focus on different kinds of data in order to determine whether a property is abandoned or not.23 Compiled data can be composed of properties “that (1) are [already] listed on [other distressed property] registries, (2) have zero water usage, (3) are rentals, (4) are tax/ fee delinquent or have tax lien histories, (5) have [numerous and/ or severe] code enforcement violations, and (6) have nuisance complaints.”24 All of this information helps the governmental entity — whether on a statewide or local level — visualize and conceptualize the extent of the zombie infiltration.25 As previously mentioned, the biggest issue surrounding zombies includes a lack of accountability for property maintenance, knowledge of the magnitude of the problem, and transparency about the current status of each property.26 As May 2012, local governments have been leading the way in terms of passing VPROs — with more than 550 ordinances total, yet no state has enacted its own statewide counterpart.27 For example, Florida has no statewide VPRO though it is inundated with more than double the number of zombie properties with which New York is currently wrestling;28 a zombie registry on a statewide level would alleviate some of the confusion and information gap between towns, cities, and counties plaguing the state. New York has currently turned to proposed legislation that would combine notice and registry requirements to combat zombies at the statewide level.

B. The Zombie Kill Bill

New York is currently following in Hawaii’s footsteps, or at least attempting to do so. Because notice is also not statutorily required in the state,29 Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has called for state regulatory reform in the form of the New York State Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2015.30 Affectionately dubbed the “Zombie Kill Bill,” the legislation requires banks and mortgage servicers to take responsibility for properties after they become vacant by immediately registering them in a statewide registry of vacant properties, which takes the onus off local governments.31 In addition, in the event of noncompliance, the state has the ability to fine these banks and mortgage servicers $1000 per day per property.32 Although this bill would give official teeth to the current ground-level, municipal responses to zombies, many critics are opposing the bill in Albany.33 This is often because banks, homeowners, and city officials disagree as to when exactly a property is deemed abandoned;34 this bill attempts to solve this problem by defining the term on a statewide level as being abandoned after three months of missed mortgage payments.35 This would help get the entire state on the same page in regards to categorizing and combatting the over 15,000 zombies infesting the jurisdiction.36 In addition, the fees collected for compliance issues by the state will go into a fund to hire more code enforcement officers, which can help annihilate zombiefication before it even begins.37 All in all, the purpose of the Zombie Kill Bill is transparency: it is important for zombies to be confronted head-on and foreclosures not merely hidden by banks as shadow inventory.38 Whether or not this bill is passed, the Zombie Kill Bill outlines effectual tools, as well as calls for state legislative reform, in order to thoroughly combat the zombie problem.39 The Zombie Kill Bill is an example of a unique and unprecedented attack on zombies; while other states and local governments have tried to solve pieces of the zombie problem, none have created such a comprehensive law to do so.40

C.  When No One is Home

Once a property owner receives a notice of foreclosure in the mail, the first response is often to immediately flee the property.41 There is no requirement, however, that a property owner move out until he receives an official notice to vacate.42 It is in everyone’s best interest — the property owner, lender/ servicer, and the municipality — that the record title holder occupy the property for as long as possible.43 This is important not only for individual maintenance purposes (see below), but also for sustaining an air of upkeep throughout the neighborhood that upholds property values and stabilizes municipalities struggling with the zombie problem.44

Again, notice and transparency are key to solving this issue. The Zombie Kill Bill, like the Hawaii bill, attacks this problem by providing notice to homeowners that they can stay in their homes, which is better in the long run for both the bank and municipality as the title owner will inevitably then maintain the property.45 This will avoid costly abatements and demolitions, which many municipalities simply cannot afford.46 The Zombie Kill Bill itself requires notice within fifteen days of the date that the homeowner’s mortgage is past due by three months and must include this explicit language:

As your loan servicer or mortgage holder, we are required to send you this notice pursuant to New York State law. As the owner of your home, you have the right to occupy your home until such time as you are ordered to leave by a court of competent jurisdiction . . . you are allowed by New York State law to continue living in your home regardless of any collection methods we pursue . . . including the foreclosure process, until such time as you are ordered by a court to leave your property.47

D.  Maintenance Obligations

A lack of proper maintenance is also a huge issue in regards to zombie properties. When property owners default on a mortgage, they typically stop taking care of the property.48 This results in a general aura of disinterest and neglect throughout a neighborhood as zombies multiply, as grass and weeds continue to grow without mowing, trash and mail begin to accumulate, paint begins to chip, and windows break as squatters, crime, and vandalism begin to take over the area.49 One would think that banks would pick up the reins where the negligent property owner leaves off; however, from a legal standpoint, many states do not create a duty to maintain until much later in the foreclosure process — after the property damage is already done.50 Since the most damage is done to a zombie property within the first forty days of vacancy, this is clearly a huge issue that requires a statewide response. New York’s Zombie Kill Bill attempts to solve this issue by creating a strict duty upon banks to maintain a property after a property owner misses three months of mortgage payments.51 The property must be maintained in accordance with state property law.52 If passed, this bill will help stop zombies in their tracks by requiring banks to take over property maintenance early on in the foreclosure process. Additionally, the bill calls for a toll-free hotline where concerned neighbors can alert the state government that properties are not being properly maintained.53 This is another example of how accountability is key to solving zombiefication.

In addition to merely providing a tracking database, VPROs can also impose maintenance obligations on borrowers or lenders that would be otherwise imposed on an individual municipality or the taxpayers of a state overall.54 These maintenance obligations are found in the enforcement provisions of a VPRO and normally include the imposition of fines on those who do not properly take care of the abandoned property, although there are limitations based upon how the law defines who is required to register the property in the first place.55 Some localities even categorize violations as criminal misdemeanor offenses, which ups the ante significantly for lenders and borrowers in those jurisdictions.56 Many municipalities like Brooklyn Center, Minnesota also rely on sliding scale fee systems, which raise fine amounts the longer a property is left uninhabited and derelict.57 This system encourages a lender or borrower to find a new owner and turn over the property as quickly as possible.58 In addition, a municipality that collects the fines also can recoup some of the lost sums it has inevitably put into the previously vacant property, whether through maintenance or code enforcement.59 For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois has enacted a VPRO that requires that mortgagees maintain and secure vacant buildings to city standards, with the possibility of fees “between $500 - 1,000 for each day the building is in violation.”60 Other states have been successful with different strategies for encouraging zombie maintenance — New York’s Zombie Kill Bill is merely more comprehensive.

E.  Confronting the Foreclosure Process

Neither VPROs nor notice requirements address the lengthy foreclosure process where a distressed property sits in limbo. There are two possible reasons why a foreclosure can take a long time to complete. The first — a nonjudicial bottleneck — occurs when a bank, servicer, or lender stalls the foreclosure process.61 This normally occurs because banks are trying to avoid creating shadow inventory, thereby circum- venting for as long as possible listing a loss on their records when the foreclosure completes.62

Conversely, the second option — a judicial bottleneck — occurs because the court systems are inundated by the sheer number of foreclosure cases on their dockets.63 Numerous states have attempted to solve this problem by writing foreclosure “fast track” legislation, such as the Zombie Kill Bill, under which a foreclosure proceeding is given a set expiration date.64 This timeline gives accountability and reassurance to municipalities, property owners, and lenders about the state of qualifying zombie properties within their jurisdictions. For example, Florida has passed a “foreclosure fast track” bill.65 Florida’s “Fair Foreclosure Act” implements an order to show cause procedure, in which the plaintiff can, in conjunction with the filing of the verified complaint, move for an order to show cause requiring the defendants to file an answer within twenty days of the filing of any complaint.66 If the answer is not filed with the requisite timeframe, the court may simply enter a judgment of foreclosure.67 Similarly, New Jersey has enacted foreclosure fast track legislation of its own which requires sheriffs to sell a property deemed foreclosed within sixty days of any writ of execution by the court.68 Again, this allows for rapid property turnover, instead of letting foreclosed properties sit in real estate limbo perpetually.

While fast track legislation does address the lengthy foreclosure process that often hinders the property from being maintained properly and put back on the market, this response also raises its own question: what if there is no market for reselling said properties? If this is the case, lenders will just acquire a large amount of foreclosed properties; lenders themselves may thus be opponents of fast track legislation, as these less valuable properties will cheapen their inventory. In addition, even if homeowners can statutorily keep their properties, homeowners still may not have the means to maintain their property. This will only perpetuate and prolong the cycle of zombiefication.

II.  Local Responses to Zombiefication

It is clear that states are not the only entities with the power to combat the nationwide zombie infestation. Local governments can also institute their own policies, programs, and regulations aimed at solving issues of transparency, accountability, lack of notice, and property abandonment and degradation at the grassroots, local level.

A.     Increased Resources/ Specialized Responses

Many local governments suffering from an influx of zombies have diverted much of their taxpayer, state, and federal dollars to increasing their resources at the municipal level. This response directly addresses the vast amount of time, money, and manpower needed to combat the zombie problem proactively. For example, many municipalities have used specialized housing courts, fees, increased and aggressive code enforcement, and specialized task forces to bring the zombie problem to a halt before it reaches the foreclosure stage.69 Specifically, Poughkeepsie, New York’s Common Council has had success in amending its local vacant property ordinance to require vacant and foreclosed properties to post a $10,000 bond to the city for maintenance that will be used if the title owner fails to maintain the property appropriately.70 Municipalities wishing to both hold zombie title owners accountable and have the money to enforce this account- ability should follow in Poughkeepsie’s footsteps.

B.  Local VPROs

Municipalities fighting off zombies have also been successful by enacting their own versions of statewide VPROs, but local governments must be aware that a statewide model could eventually preempt the local VPROs. For example, DeKalb County, Georgia currently follows a foreclosure model VPRO.71 The county’s ordinance provides that its specific purpose is to “protect the county’s public health, safety, and general welfare from lack of adequate maintenance and security of foreclosed residential and commercial properties,” as well as to “increase the accountability of owners because of the difficulty in tracking down the party responsible for the condition of the foreclosed property.”72 Compounding the problem, the recently proposed Georgia House Bill 110 would completely preempt local VPROs such as DeKalb County’s.73

Having a statewide VPRO has both benefits and drawbacks. For one, the entire state is forced to be on the same page regarding zombie properties: the message is that distressed property is a statewide, serious problem that needs to be combatted without local governments worrying about the intricate details of resuscitating properties municipality by municipality. However, if the state VPRO is ineffectual, municipalities will still be the ones shouldering the aftershocks of zombiefication. In addition, any fees garnered from registry will be lost to the municipality. Luckily, the Zombie Kill Bill specifically states that it will not preempt local governments from creating their own zombie legislation.74 This is important for municipalities that may wish to supplement the statewide model with provisions that specifically address unique problems within their own jurisdiction that may not be adequately represented with the Zombie Kill Bill itself.

There is currently some backlash in the lending community against VPROs. The Mortgage Bankers Association seems to think these ordinances only hurt municipalities in the long run, as fewer lenders are willing to spend more to lend within that municipality, in compliance with the ordinance.75 While this concern is not entirely supported by data, it is easy to see why banks in general may be apprehensive about a policy that essentially holds them entirely responsible for the zombiefication crisis. In addition, many critics are concerned that VPROs only really create a registry and a solution for properties that have already been abandoned.76 In order to be proactive, it is important for municipalities to look at other potential solutions to zombies in addition to VPROs.

C.  Land Banks

In a third possible local response to the zombie property movement, land banks pick up where VPROs or aggressive code enforcement leaves off. Instead of focusing merely on holding zombie title owners or lenders accountable for maintenance, land banks stress total rehabilitation of properties.77 Above all, the purpose of a land banks is to get the property back on the market.78

A land bank is an organization — public or private — that holds properties for future development or disposal and is designed to pass on clean title to a subsequent purchaser.79 Land banks, such as those found in Newburgh, New York and Cook County, Illinois (surrounding Chicago), have been highly successful by relying on the real market itself to stop the zombiefication cycle in its tracks.80 However, land banks are not a panacea. The process requires money, time, and a staff that many municipalities may not be able to spare without massive amounts of federal or state subsidies.81 In addition, the properties are often so destroyed that demolition is the only feasible option.82

It is clear that while land banks may be a great short-term solution, their high cost of operation precludes them from becoming a sustainable solution to the zombie problem.

D.  Lessons from Newburgh: A Zombie Stronghold

Newburgh, New York is currently in the throes of a real estate apocalypse. At this stage, land banks can only do so much to remediate zombies and get them back on the market. More reform, such as the statewide Zombie Kill Bill, is needed to bridge the gap between housing life and death on a whole.

In the meantime, by analyzing the current inventory of registered abandoned and vacant properties within the cities, a pattern can be seen. Banks and other lenders tend to dispose of properties before a notice of intent to foreclose is actually recorded in the books.83 It is not surprising that banks do not want their names associated with foreclosure; a foreclosure negatively impacts a bank’s financial statement because of the inevitable decrease in the value of a property following the foreclosure process. In addition, banks and other lenders may also cut their losses early because many of these properties are so dilapidated that they are more trouble and expensive to maintain than they’re worth completely remediated years down the road; therefore, these entities completely avoid a loss as well as the shadow inventory problem where foreclosure and delinquent mortgage properties are on the bank’s roster, but cannot yet be resold.84

From RealtyTrac’s databases, it is also clear that the zombie problem is not limited to New York. Although many states have created notice requirements or foreclosure fast track legislation, all states are in desperate need of their own versions of comprehensive zombie kill bills. For example, New Jersey has the second highest total zombie body count of the nation with 17,983 properties as of January 2015, with twenty-three percent of all properties in some state of foreclosure.85 This represents a 109% increase in zombie properties since 2014, and there is now an average of 1,057 days to complete a foreclosure process; it is evident that the real estate walking dead have infested New Jersey.86

New Jersey has also discovered a new subset of the zombie crisis: vampire homes. Vampire homes are those that are in the stages of foreclosure but, unlike zombies, still have tenants living in them.87 Many times, vampires are popular in states with relatively short foreclosure timelines, as previous owners cannot properly vacate the property in time for a foreclosure sale.88 This presents a huge problem for banks trying to resell these properties, as properties are on the market that are technically unsellable with old tenants still living in them.89 

If New Jersey attempted to enact legislation like New York’s Zombie Kill Bill that built upon its current fast track legislation, municipalities would be granted more power to go after lenders, banks, and mortgage servicers to solve the zombie and vampire problem. In the long-term, this accountability would help prevent zombies and vampires, as more dollars would be diverted to code enforcement, as well as to prevent demolition of properties once they become too undead to bring back to the living. Notice requirements would also allow for New Jersey homeowners to be aware of their right to stay on the premises until the foreclosure process is entirely completed. In addition, if a “vampire home” is a term New Jersey lawmakers want to coin, it is important that a standard definition of the term is created so that local governments can combat vampires in a cohesive, strategic statewide response.

Without legislation such as the Zombie Kill Bill, municipalities are essentially in real estate limbo. Many local governments have considered eminent domain proceedings or private nuisance claims as potential solutions to zombiefication,90 but these solutions depend entirely on differing state real property law and are much too abstract to be a winning solution to this nationwide crisis. Similarly, many municipalities are also amending their comprehensive plans or adopting policy statements that essentially condemn zombies.91 While commendable, these policy statements do nothing more than announce the obvious: no local government wants zombies.

A better solution is for local governments to adopt ordinances, create programs, and disseminate information to homeowners that are a mixture of the four regulatory responses — VPROs, land banks, increased resources/ specialized resources, and “fast track” legislation — to create their own mini hybrid response model. This multifaceted approach will attack zombies and vampires from their foundation by encouraging accountability, transparency, notice, and real estate resiliency, rather than retroactively working piecemeal on only portions of the problem. Of course, in a model, zombie-free world, each state would pass its own version of the Zombie Kill Bill since it takes all the responses and wraps them into one comprehensive, convenient package. Until then, and even if the Zombie Kill Bill itself dies a slow death before being enacted, each local government should take three steps: (1) pass a VPRO to inventory the current status of its zombie infestation; (2) direct more municipal dollars into better code enforcement to catch properties before they turn over to the dark side; and (3) use land banks as a last resort when the previous proactive steps do not work. The zombie problem may seem like an inescapable horror story, but there is no reason why municipalities cannot entomb their real estate walking dead once and for all.

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  1. N.Y. REAL PROP. ACTS. LAW § 1307 (Consol. 2014).
  2. See David P. Weber, Cities and States Battle Back: Taking the Fight to the Zombie (Mortgages) and Abandoned Properties, 29 PROB. & PROP. 42, 42 (2015) [hereinafter Cities and States Battle Back].
  3. David P. Weber, Zombie Mortgages, Real Estate, and the Fallout for the Survivors, 45 N.M.L. REV. 37, 37-39 (2014) [hereinafter Zombie Mortgages].
  4. See Kermit J. Lind, Perspectives on Abandoned Houses in a Time of Dystopia, 29 PROB. & PROP. 52, 55 (2015).
  5. See Zombie Mortgages, supra note 3, at 38-39.
  6. One in Four U.S. Foreclosures Are “Zombies” Vacated by Homeowner, Not Yet Repossessed by Foreclosing Lender, REALTYTRAC (Feb. 5, 2015), [hereinafter One in Four U.S. Foreclosures are “Zombies”].
  7. Id.
  8. Id.
  9. See Lind, supra note 4, at 53-54.
  10. Eric T. Schneiderman, Passing the Zombie Kill Bill Is a No-Brainer, HUFFINGTONPOST (June 4, 2015),
  11. See Susanne Craig, A New Effort in Albany to Put Lenders in Charge of Abandoned Properties, N. Y. TIMES (Feb. 9, 2014),
  12. See Lind, supra note 4, at 53.
  13. See id.
  14. See James J. Kelly, Jr., A Continuum in Remedies: Reconnecting Vacant Houses to the Market, ST. LOUIS U. PUB. L. REV. 109, 112-14 (2013).
  15. See Zombie Mortgages, supra note 3, at 37-38.
  16. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 42-43.
  17. Id.
  18. See News Release, Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, State Kicks off Foreclosure, Fraud Information Campaigns ( Jan. 7, 2013),
  19. Id.
  20. S.B. 960, 27th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Haw. 2013).
  21. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 42-43.
  22. Id.
  23. See id.
  24. Jessica Bacher & Meg Byerly Williams, A Local Government’s Strategic Approach to Distressed Property Remediation, 46 URB. LAW. 877, 880-81 (2014).
  25. See id.
  26. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 42-43.
  27. See Yun Sang Lee, Patrick Terranova & Dan Immergluck, New Data on Local Vacant Property Registration Ordinances, 15 CITYSCAPE: J. POL’Y DEV. & RES. 259, 260 (2013), available at
  28. See One in Four U.S. Foreclosures, supra note 6.
  30. S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  31. Schneiderman, supra note 10.
  32. S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  33. See Craig, supra note 11.
  34. Id.
  35. Id.
  36. Id.
  37. See S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  38. See id.
  39. See id.
  40. See Lee et al., supra note 27.
  41. See Lind, supra note 4, at 53.
  42. See S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  43. See Lind, supra note 4, at 52-54.
  44. See id.
  45. See S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  46. See Schneiderman, supra note 10.
  47. S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  48. See Lind, supra note 4, at 52-54.
  49. See id.
  50. See Kate Berry, Banks Halting Foreclosures to Avoid Upkeep, AMERICAN BANKER (Apr. 23, 2013),
  51. S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  52. Id.
  53. Id.
  54. Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 42-43.
  55. See Lee et al., supra note 27, at 289-90.
  56. See id.
  58. See id.
  59. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 43.
  61. See Zombie Mortgages, supra note 3, at 37-38.
  62. See id.
  63. See, e.g., Kimberly Miller, Foreclosure Cases Moving Like Mud, PALM BEACH POST (Dec. 10, 2012),
  64. See S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  65. Paul Owers, Scott Signs Foreclosure Bill, SUN SENTINEL ( June 7, 2013), (discussing passage of H.B. 87, 2013 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Fla. 2013)).
  66. Fla. Stat § 702.10(1)(a)(6) (2013) (“[I]f a defendant fails to appear at the hearing to show cause or fails to file defenses by a motion or by a verified or sworn answer or files an answer not contesting the foreclosure, such defendant may be considered to have waived the right to a hearing, and in such case, the court may enter a default against such defendant and, if appropriate, a final judgment of foreclosure ordering the clerk of the court to conduct a foreclosure sale.”).
  67. Id.
  68. S.B. 2156, 215th Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.J. 2012).
  69. Zombie Mortgages, supra note 3, at 50-53. For example, Cleveland, Ohio has established its own special Housing Court to deal with abandoned houses. Id. at 49. Baltimore, Maryland and Tucson, Arizona have taken to suing lenders for public nuisance. Id. at 56.
  70. Right to the City, New York: Poughkeepsie Takes on Vacancy Crisis. Foreclosure Bond Ordinance is the First of Its Kind in New York State, RIGHT TO THE CITY, (last visited June 28, 2015).
  71. See DeKalb County Foreclosure Registry, DEKALB COUNTY, (last visited June 28, 2015).
  72. Timothy A. Davis, A Comparative Analysis of State and Local Government Vacant Property Registration Statutes, 44 URB. LAW. 399, Section IV (D) (2012).
  73. Id.
  74. S.B. 4781, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2015).
  75. Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 43.
  76. See Ben Bergman, Audit Finds Los Angeles Foreclosure Registry ‘Never Operated Effectively,’ 89.3 KPCC ( June 3, 2014),
  77. Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 43.
  78. See FRANK S. ALEXANDER, LAND BANKS AND LAND BANKING 18 (Center for Community Progress June 2011).
  79. Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 43.
  81. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 43.
  82. Id.
  83. See Shantal Parris Riley, The Housing Market Fallout Continues, MID-HUDSON TIMES ( Jan. 13, 2015),
  84. Id.
  85. One in Four U.S. Foreclosures, supra note 6.
  86. Id.
  87. Tom De Poto, Half of Foreclosed Homes in New Jersey have ‘Vampires’ Living in Them, STAR LEDGER (Oct. 3, 2013),
  88. Amy Loftsgordon, Vampire Foreclosures: When Homeowners Remain in the Home After Foreclosure, NOLO,
  89. Id.
  90. See Bacher & Williams, supra note 24.
  91. See Cities and States Battle Back, supra note 2, at 42.