Business & Finance

North Salem to Foreclose on Tax-Delinquent Properties

742a24bd916d48616a7f_mini_magick20170907-19425-1gn5t2u.jpg
Town officials say it has been at least eight years since North Salem has initiated proceedings to foreclose on properties whose owners have fallen in arrears in tax payments.
742a24bd916d48616a7f_mini_magick20170907-19425-1gn5t2u.jpg

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--The Town Board has begun property tax foreclosure proceedings against eight delinquent property owners in North Salem. 

“There are entities for whom we collect taxes and we have to pay that even if we haven’t received them,” Supervisor Warren Lucas said, meaning that if property owners are delinquent with their payments, the town is still responsible for paying the assessed amount.

If followed through, these foreclosure proceedings, also known as “in rem” proceedings, make it so a property can be taken by the municipality and then auctioned. The revenue from the sale is then used to satisfy the delinquent taxes. In order to be subject to in rem proceedings, homeowners have to be at least two years behind on their property taxes.

Sign Up for E-News

Lucas said it has been at least eight years since the town has entered such proceedings, and that in the past, the delinquent taxes are made worse by the delinquency fees, interest and penalties that accrue. 

He said 10 percent interest of the delinquent amount is tacked on annually in New York State.  

“They’re paying far more in penalties with the 10 percent compound than they are in taxes,” Lucas said.

That 10 percent penalty can make a debt become “onerous fast,” Lucas said, which is why the board intends to nip the issue in the bud now, rather than waiting for the debt to continue to grow.

“The people that haven’t paid for the last several years are becoming more delinquent and have bigger numbers to pay back,” he said. “What we’ve seen in the past is that when you let people get to the point where it becomes extremely onerous to pay back, it’s not helping them or the town.”

There are 16 properties total with delinquent property taxes, eight of which are subject to foreclosure in North Salem, he said.

Unlike other counties in New York, Lucas said Westchester does not conduct delinquent real estate property tax lien sales. That responsibility goes to the municipalities. 

“This is the only county in the state where the towns have to make everybody whole,” he added.” In Putnam, the county makes everybody whole; Southeast says ‘OK our taxes are $10 million, the county writes them a check for $10 million.’

At the Aug. 22 meeting, the board voted to commence in rem foreclosure proceedings, which simply entails notification of the property owners via mailed letters. The board hopes, however, that the proceedings don’t actually result in foreclosures. The hope is that people find a way to pay or finance their property taxes. According to members of the board, the method has proved effective in the past.

“It comes a point where you can’t ignore it anymore,” Councilman Martin Aronchick said. “This process seems to get a lot of people in compliance.”

The commencement of a foreclosure action does not necessarily mean that a home will be lost to foreclosure, and property owners have some options, according to Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni. 

“Filing a foreclosure action in the Westchester County Clerk’s office is the first step of a process, which could result in the loss of a home or building,” Idoni wrote on his website. “Many homeowners enter into a repayment plan, secure a modified loan, refinance with another lender or sell their home on their own to avoid foreclosure.”

Idoni also advised that those who receive a warning letter should reach out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to obtain the name of a reputable counseling agency.

The board approved initiating in rem proceedings at the Aug. 22 meeting; however, they said it will take weeks to initiate the process. The letters will go out sometime in September, Lucas said. 


 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

She had file envy

Who says paperwork is not sexy?! This week, I was so impressed (and even charmed) by the paperwork and systems of two different women. I was even a little envious. In the first case, my client Lois in Ardsley decided that it was time to get her paperwork in order. After six years of shifting paperwork, a dysfunctional home office, an international move and the purchase of a new home, she had HAD ...

The Books That Got Me Through the Storm

It is almost unfathomable to me that we are out of power again. Weren’t we just recovering from the back-to-back nor’easters of March? Yikes! And while I am still out of power, I consider myself and my family to be fortunate; just a few houses from mine, and all over Westchester and Putnam counties, there are trees and wires down on roads, on cars, on homes and businesses. Indeed, we ...

Thrifting From the Couch

Now that I am confident that we have turned the corner on winter and the warm weather is here to stay, it is time to commit to that timeless ritual: change of season, change your closet. I actually like it, that chance to get reacquainted with my favorites and to question once again why some things were actually purchased in the first place. I am totally guilty of falling into that trap of loving ...

Veatch Fund to Award Six Student Scholarships

May 16, 2018

Six graduating seniors from local high schools will be awarded 2018 Justin Veatch Fund music scholarships in June. This year’s recipients are Chloe Collins of Calvert Academy, Justin Giacchetto of North Salem High School, Justin Hahn of Peekskill High School, Noah Mattison of Harrison High School, Alicia McMillan of The Ursuline School, and Chris Paraggio of Carmel High School.

The ...