Once again, lien day—the day the city can sell off property liens for delinquent tax and utility payers—is coming up this month. And once again, the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) is trying to let property owners in and around Ridgewood know that they’re at risk of losing their properties.
Every year, the city’s Finance Department publishes a list of properties with unpaid taxes, water, sewer or other charges.
After May 17, the city can sell a lien against those properties to a third party who can try to collect the money or foreclose on the property.
The city posts a list of properties publicly and notifies the owners by mail, but the GRRC says that’s often not enough.
For years, the GRRC has taken the city’s list and done its own outreach because city addresses listed for the owners can be incorrect.
Joann Schauer, a spokeswoman for the GRRC, said staff has found many incidents when property owners didn’t even know they were about to have a lien.
To counter this, staff members do their own research about each property and will try to track down any alternate addresses.
They then send their own letters warning of what is about to happen and telling them in plain English what needs to be done.
The GRRC takes it upon itself to notify any property owner listed in Community Board 5, which covers the area around Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth and Middle Village.
In that area, there were 419 locations originally listed. And now—although there’s no way of knowing how much impact GRRC had—that number has been whittled down to 234.
“This number is high, and we urge property owners to see if they qualify to be excluded from the lien sale,” GRRC’s executive director, Angela Mirabile said.
The GRRC said the first stop is to contact the Finance Department at nyc.gov/finance to pay any outstanding balance, if possible. But—although they can’t offer monetary assistance—the GRCC also wants to lend a guiding hand if the process is confusing, Schauer said.
The GRRC is available by calling 718-366-8721.
By Jeremiah Dobruck