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Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C Utilizes “Zombie Foreclosure” Statute to Avoid Lengthy Foreclosure Process

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C was retained by a Lender in connection with a foreclosure action of a vacant and abandoned building. Instead of moving for an Order of Reference and then having a Referee compute the amount due, the firm utilized a recent law to file a combined and expedited motion for all aspects of the decision at once.

On April 13, 2022, the firm moved for an Expedited Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale for Vacant and Abandoned property under RPAPL § 1309. The law allows for such as long as the Defendant’s time to answer the complaint in the foreclosure proceeding has expired. It also requires photographs evidencing that the subject property is vacant and abandoned as well as utility company records or other documentation evidencing the vacant and abandoned status of the premises. After exhibiting suitable evidence to the property’s abandoned nature, the Plaintiff can immediately submit its Judgment of Foreclosure, instead of going through the process of appointing a Referee and submitting a Referee’s Oath and Report of what is owed.

The reason this legislation was enacted is because of so called “Zombie Foreclosures” and their detrimental effect on neighborhoods. “Zombie Foreclosures” occur when, after a foreclosure action is commenced, the homeowner moves out of the mortgaged property, and it sits vacant and abandoned. These foreclosures cause upset when neighbors complain of decreasing property value due to abandoned properties. RPAPL § 1309 combats this by allowing for an expedited process so that the property does not sit vacant, to the detriment of the surrounding properties. Foreclosure processes can be extremely lengthy, which can cause undue hardship on the lenders, the defendants, and people residing close to the mortgaged property.

Seeing that this was the case in this foreclosure action, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C argued using the recent legislation, that the surrounding circumstances allowed for the law to be utilized in this instance. The Borrowers in this case had executed an Affidavit attesting that they physically abandoned the Mortgaged Premises and no longer considered the Mortgaged Premises to be their principal home, residence, or dwelling. Because of this statement and the diligent work of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C in obtaining photos of the abandoned property, as well as property inspections, the parties were spared a lengthy and unnecessary foreclosure process.

The Judge here granted the Motion and agreed with Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s arguments regarding the application of RPAPL § 1309. By hard work and attention to detail, we were able to secure this win for our clients and speed along the process of foreclosure.

Jackie Halpern Weinstein, Esq., Danny Ramrattan, Esq., and Julia Singer, Esq. of the Foreclosure Litigation Group at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. secured this result for its client.

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