The Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project and Bridge Street Development Corporation are teaming up to host a free tax lien clinic for Brooklyn homeowners on Monday, June 24, at 260 Nostrand Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant.

The info session is designed to help homeowners, who have fallen behind on property taxes, water bills and other charges associated with homeownership; these unpaid charges become tax liens that may be sold in the city’s annual tax lien sale. Once a tax lien is sold, a third-party collection agency can add fees and high interest of up to 18 percent, compounded daily. This mounting debt can force some homeowners into foreclosure.

This year’s tax lien sale is scheduled for August 2; homeowners have until July 19 to set up payment agreements with the NYC Department of Finance to avoid the sale of the lien.

Many Brooklyn homeowners have received letters from the NYC Department of Finance about the tax lien sale but often do not know how to address this problem. The homeowners usually owe less than $20,000 to the city, own their home free and clear and have lived in Brooklyn for multiple generations, said Sarah Filcher, VLP senior staff attorney.

A 2019 60-Day Lien List. Source: Center for NYC Neighborhoods

“Our goal is to assist as many families as possible to avoid losing their homes to a tax lien foreclosure,” said Filcher. “Remarkably, over 9,000 Brooklyn homeowners received a 90-Day notice that their homes would be included on this year’s tax lien sale list if no further actions were taken by the homeowners.”

In response, the VLP and BSDC are hosting the tax lien clinic to inform homeowners about the legal steps they can take to salvage their properties. A representative from the Department of Finance will also be present to answer questions and process applications.

“Through the clinic, we can help homeowners understand their options to avoid the city’s upcoming tax lien sale and complete the necessary paperwork to apply for an exemption or payment agreement,” said Filcher.

The free tax lien clinic will take place on Monday, June 24, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at BSDC’s main office, at 260 Nostrand Avenue. Homeowners will need to bring a copy of the deed, a government-issued ID and proof of income to apply, and are asked to register for the clinic in advance by calling the VLP at 718-473-9208.

For more information about the annual lien sale, go here.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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