Officials: "zombie properties" pose serious risk to residents

Updated: 06/08/2014 11:32 PM
Created: 06/08/2014 7:03 PM WHEC.com

Some people are calling them “zombie properties,” or homes and buildings that have seen better days now sitting vacant with boarded up windows and overgrown lawns. City officials say they’re a hot spot for crime, and they want something done about them, and so do people living nearby who say the abandoned spots are causing trouble in their community.

Zombie properties are becoming a growing problem in Rochester and across the country after the economic downturn forced thousands of people out of their homes, and officials say residents are paying the price.

“I’ve called the police a couple of times because kids would come on the street, and they know it’s an abandoned building, so they just kind of use it as a hang out spot,” said Vanessa Martinez, resident.

One state lawmaker is taking action against zombie properties. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is launching a statewide initiative to combat the problem. Schneiderman is calling on the state legislature to pass a bill requiring banks to maintain all foreclosed properties if they become abandoned or allow homeowners to live in them longer.

“Our legislation will make communities safer and lessen the burden on municipalities still struggling to recover from the housing crisis,” said Schneiderman.

The attorney general is asking lawmakers to vote on the bill before adjourning this month.

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