City Attorney Amanda Rose gave the Common Council a progress report Tuesday night on several of the city’s ‘War on Blight’ policies, including the successful eviction of tenants at city-owned properties, who weren’t paying rent, and the ongoing effort to acquire 11 abandoned residential properties under New York state’s real property law section 19-A process.
Rose told the Council that, after a monthslong process, the city was able to complete evictions on tenants who had been living at 18 Franklin St. and 7 Grandoe Lane.
“For Franklin Street, they had to be out by Dec. 31 and for Grandoe Lane it was Dec. 21,” Rose said.
New York state’s coronavirus pandemic eviction moratorium expired on Jan. 15, about 21 months after it was originally put in place. Evictions were still possible under the eviction moratorium, but only if the tenants failed to file a successful hardship declaration.
Rose said before the city could evict the tenants it had to obtain a Warrant of Eviction from city court. She said the tenants living at Grandoe Lane did not appear in city court to contest the process.
“So, we got that on default, and [the tenants living at] Franklin Street did appear, and we allowed them to stay for four weeks, as opposed to two, and then they were out by the end of the month,” she said.
Gloversville paid $8,001 in May for 18 Franklin St. and $16,542 for 7 Grandoe Lane as part of a 10-parcel purchase from Fulton County, costing a total of $145,404. All of the properties were in tax foreclosure, and the city paid the county the full amount of unpaid county and school taxes for the properties. It was done as a part of a pilot program to attempt to stop the recycling of blighted properties that can occur when irresponsible real estate speculators, often from out-of-town, purchase them at Fulton County’s foreclosure auction.
The city’s plan has been to sell the properties to developers vetted by the city’s Property Disposition Committee at a minimum bid price of what the city paid for the parcels, along with restrictive covenants requiring the new owners to make good on their plans to rehabilitate the parcels.
Since May, the Property Disposition Committee has successfully sold most of the city-acquired parcels, both from the county and by other means. The Franklin and Grandoe properties were two of three parcels held up by the non-paying tenants still living inside them.
The other occupied building of the 10 bought from the county was 88 Wells St., which wasn’t discussed Tuesday night, but is now being offered for sale by the city’s Property Disposition Committee, according to a post Wednesday on the city’s Facebook page. The two other properties listed in the post were 18 Franklin St., and 66 E. State St.
“For more information, including mandatory showing times, application and minimum bid amount, please visit our website here — www.cityofgloversville.com/property-disposition,” reads the post.
Tuesday night, Rose told the Council that the city has also moved forward acquiring 11 properties it believes have been completely abandoned by the previous owners. She said the city intends to use New York state’s “Real Property Actions & Proceedings law,” section 19-A “Special Proceedings to Convey Title to Abandoned Dwelling to City, Town or Village,” as the legal mechanism for acquiring ownership of the parcels.
These are the 11 properties, which can include the past owner agreeing to grant the title to the city:
• 132 West St
• 74 Hill St.
• 136 Bleecker St.
• 8 Eagle St.
• 35 Monroe St.
• 44 Steele Ave.
• 53 W. Eighth Ave.
• 16 Poole Ave.
• 35 Monroe St.
• 74 Hill St.
• 74 Division St.
Rose told the council progress has been made toward obtaining 53 West Eighth Ave. The city is waiting for the signed deed and transfer documents from the attorney of the owner. She said, as far as the other properties, the city is still working through the legal process to obtain their titles.
“We started the process of taking the title of the other abandoned properties under 19-A,” she said. “There’s really strict steps that we need to take in order for the court to convey the properties. The first step is posting on the property, which we’ve done on all of them. We’ve gotten the title searches back on three, and we actually filed three lawsuits in [New York state] Supreme Court with regard to the properties where we are ready to do that with, so that process is moving along. As the title searches come back for the other properties, we can take the next step.”
DeSantis praised Rose’s efforts.
“This is good,” he said. “These are properties where, once we obtain title, they will go to the Property Disposition Committee for rehab. It’s been a long time that we’ve been thinking about this, and I really congratulate Amanda for moving this forward.”
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