Tenants Suffer As City Sells Landlords’ Tax Debt to Speculators
Critics of New York City’s tax lien sales system say it encourages landlords to evict tenants and ignore building violations.
Peter Senzamici and Allison Dikanovic · October 15, 2021
After 12 years of the city selling delinquent taxes and fines to a private, third-party trust, the owner at 702 Grand St. in Williamsburg sold to a buyer, who promptly emptied the building except for one family on the second floor. | Peter Senzamici
Jessica Campoverde, Natalies 24-year-old daughter. Moving into 702 Grand St. was at first a refuge, she said, but the new owners have made it a hell. | Peter Senzamici
Natalie Burbano looks up at the empty windows above her second story apartment at 702 Grand Street. | Peter Senzamici
This is about the city just not being creative enough about how it enforces its debts, said Paula Segal, an attorney with the nonprofit legal support group TakeRoot Justice. Shes worked closely with groups seeking to end the lien sale and replace it with a housing preservation strategy instead. | Peter Senzamici
Another lien-laden property, 35 Kingston Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, purchased by David Banda in 2019, sits empty and derelict. | Peter Senzamici
Another one of Bandas properties, 385 Classon Ave. in Clinton Hill, advertising financing from S3 Capital Partners, a private lending platform. | Peter Senzamici
62 New York Ave., in Crown Heights. Falades debts on the building reached $630,000, according to court documents. He said in a deposition that he had no idea how much money he owed because he had no intention of paying. | Peter Senzamici
Debra Ack has been helping her East New York neighbors who find themselves on the lien sale list while also advocating for a community land trust. | Peter Senzamici
Hannah Anousheh, coordinator for the East New York Community Land Trust Initiative after a rally on November 14, 2020. | Peter Senzamici
Peter is a reporter and photojournalist living in Brooklyn. He worked as a reporting intern and part-time reporter at THE CITY. His… more
Allison Dikanovic is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She was previously an engagement reporter for THE CITY. Before that, she worked for… more
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