How The City Gives Away 1,155 City – Owned Lots to Private Developers

From City & State:

“the Tax Lien Sale affects those with the most to lose and the least ability to recover after the Sale inflates their debts. The system shackles residents into cycles of debt servitude in communities with the greatest need for social resiliency.”


In less than two weeks, the New York City Department of Finance will bankrupt and destroy 349 nonprofit institutions, converting their properties into capital for private banks through a municipal policy tool called Tax Lien Sale – but city leaders still have a chance to save them.

On May 12, the agency will wrongfully include these properties and many others in the 2017 Tax Lien Sale. The move will condemn their owners to crippling financial burdens and then to foreclosure by a private bank — even though state law exempts these organizations from property taxes in the first place. Also on the chopping block: 1,155 vacant lots – spaces the city can develop as-of-right into permanently affordable housing, but will instead sell off for private development.

The ….solution is incredibly simple: the Department of Finance must categorically remove nonprofits and vacant lots from the Tax Lien Sale, starting now.

These properties are…free or nearly free parcels of land that the city can develop at cost and as-of-right for permanent social benefits and maintain in perpetuity. The 2017 Tax Lien Sale will kill every single one of them…

Nonprofit organizations are permanently tax-exempt under state law, but …the city …requires them to go through a byzantine annual process to maintain this status for their properties. Many don’t know that they need to do this, or don’t have the capacity to …. Debt and foreclosure by private banks follows.”

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