INNOVATIVE RENSSELAER COUNTY PROGRAM HELPS COUNTY REDUCE COSTS FOR DELINQUENT PROPERTIES, COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE MCLAUGHLIN AND LEGISLATORS ANNOUNCE
Rensselaer County is continuing to see savings from an innovative county program designed to identify and revitalize properties left abandoned because of back taxes or other issues, County Executive Steve McLaughlin and members of the County Legislature announced.
The county’s Real Property Resource Recovery program generated a savings of $1.043 million during 2021, the second year the program has been in operation. The program generated a savings of $317,000 in 2020, the program’s first year.
The county’s Real Property Resource Recovery program gets properties back into active ownership and care earlier than the usual county foreclosure process. Many times, when properties are delinquent, they are left uncared for and deteriorate quickly.
In addition, counties are required under law to make municipalities and school districts whole, and to potentially cover costs for demolition and other expenses.
“This is an effective way to stop the loss of property value and public money used to cover costs for a delinquent property. We are also able to get many of these properties fixed up and back into active use,” said McLaughlin.
“Thanks to this effort, we are now able to more effectively track properties, and move those properties to auction earlier. Along with saving money, we get properties revitalized and value restored,” added McLaughlin.
The county typically allows occupied properties six years of delinquency until foreclosure. That practice was instituted to give property owners every opportunity to retain their property. Through the Real Property Resource Recovery program, the county’s Real Property Resource Recovery Coordinator Martin Reid visits unoccupied properties and helps move the properties through the process more quickly and efficiently.
Properties that are unoccupied can be moved in less than the typical six years, often in four or five. State law requires municipalities to wait two years and nine months before beginning a foreclosure.
During 2021, the program largely concentrated on properties delinquent from 2016, moving 123 properties to auction earlier. During 2020, the program largely focused on properties delinquent from 2015, moving 340 properties to auction earlier. The county is now working on subsequent years.
“This innovative program also helps keep our neighborhoods safer and stronger by preventing homes from the blight and deterioration that could attract criminals” Vice Chair Bob Loveridge- East Schodack.
“No one wants a vacant zombie home in their neighborhood. This program gets homes into the hands of people who want to save them. In this hot real estate market, there is no reason why good properties should remain vacant during a prolonged foreclosure process”, Legislator Leon Fiacco- North Greenbush.