Attorney General James and Governor Cuomo Protect Thousands of Homeowners by Stopping Tax Lien Sale

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew Cuomo released the following statements regarding the Governor’s Executive Order stopping New York City’s annual tax and water lien sale in order to protect homeowners as the COVID-19 public health crisis continues.

“As the economic impacts of COVID-19 rage on, the tax lien sale puts an unnecessary financial burden on New York’s homeowners, and especially communities of color,” said Attorney General James. “It is the responsibility of government to relieve the financial hardships of the people wherever possible, not exacerbate them. I am proud that my office worked with Governor Cuomo and his team to take immediate action to protect hardworking homeowners during this stressful time.”

“COVID-19 caused enormous disruption in the daily lives of New Yorkers, including their ability to keep a roof over their head,” Governor Cuomo said. “The tax and water lien sale was delayed in May in recognition of this hardship, and given the current economic climate it makes sense to delay it again so that homeowners aren’t facing further uncertainty. This measure is part and parcel with our ongoing efforts to help New Yorkers weather the ongoing public health emergency.”

On August 31, 2020, Attorney General James and a group of 57 elected officials urged the delay of the city’s annual tax and water lien sale. In a letter, Attorney General James and other elected officials called for the removal of more than 4,700 Class 1 Properties, or residential buildings with three or fewer units, from the tax lien sale scheduled for September 4, 2020. As New Yorkers are still facing significant financial burdens due to the pandemic, including these homes in the tax lien sale will only exacerbate the economic crisis and result in homeowners — mostly in communities of color — potentially losing their homes during this time.