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NEW YORK STATE
REAL PROPERTY ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS LAW
(RPAPL)

ARTICLE 19-A

SPECIAL PROCEEDING TO CONVEY TITLE TO
ABANDONED DWELLING TO CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE

Section   1970.     Applicability.

          1971.     Certification of abandonment.

          1971-a.   Destruction of abandoned dwellings.

          1972.     Notice.

          1973.     Commencement of proceeding.

          1974.     Decision and judgment of court.

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Sec. 1970.     APPLICABILITY.

The department or agency of a city, town or village, responsible
for the enforcement of the multiple dwelling law, the multiple
residence law, or any other law, code or ordinance governing the
occupancy and maintenance of residential property (hereinafter in
this article referred to as "the department") may institute a
proceeding in accordance with the provisions of this article for
a judgment vesting in the city, town or village title to a
dwelling which has been abandoned by the owner. This article
shall not apply to a one-family or two-family dwelling occupied
by the owner thereof.


Sec. 1971.     CERTIFICATION OF ABANDONMENT.

1.   The department may make a finding that a dwelling is
     abandoned if:

     (a)  In the case of an occupied dwelling, the owner has
          failed for a period of at least three consecutive
          months either to collect rent or to institute summary
          proceedings for nonpayment of rent, and the department
          finds that the dwelling has become a danger to life,
          health or safety as a result of the owner's failure to
          assume his responsibility for its condition. Such
          failure may be shown by such facts as an owner's
          failure to provide services including, but not limited
          to, the failure to make repairs, supply janitorial
          service, purchase fuel or other needed supplies, or pay
          utility bills. The appointment of an administrator
          pursuant to article seven-A of this chapter shall not
          prevent the department from making a finding that a
          dwelling is abandoned.

     (b)  In the case of a vacant dwelling, it is not sealed or
          continuously guarded as required by law or it was
          sealed or is continuously guarded by a person other
          than the owner, a mortgagee, lienor or agent thereof,
          and either of the following facts exists:

          (i)  A vacate order of the department or other
               governmental agency currently prohibits occupancy
               of the dwelling; or

          (ii) The tax on such premises has been due and unpaid
               for a period of at least one year.

2.   When the department finds that a dwelling is abandoned
     within the meaning of this article, it shall make and file
     among its records a certification containing such finding
     and the facts on which it is based. Further, it shall
     immediately affix to the dwelling in a prominent and
     conspicuous location, a notice that the building has been
     found to be an abandoned building and that it is a crime to
     take, remove or otherwise damage any fixture or part of the
     building structure.


Sec. 1971-a.   DESTRUCTION OF ABANDONED DWELLINGS.

"Destruction of an abandoned dwelling" occurs when a person,
having no right to do so or permission of the department or the
owner to take, remove or otherwise damage the fixtures or the
structure of the building, nor any reasonable ground to believe
that he has such right or permission, intentionally removes or
damages any fixture or part of the structure of a building which
has been certified as abandoned in accordance with the provisions
of section nineteen hundred seventy-one of this chapter.


Sec. 1972.     NOTICE.

1.   If the department proposes to institute proceedings pursuant
     to this article, it may file a copy of the certification and
     a notice of intention to commence such proceedings in the
     office of the clerk of the county in which the dwelling is
     located. Such notice shall contain the names of all persons
     required to be served pursuant to this section and shall
     otherwise meet the requirements of subdivision (b) of
     section six thousand five hundred eleven of the civil
     practice law and rules. The notice shall be indexed by the
     clerk in the manner prescribed by subdivision (c) of section
     sixty-five hundred eleven of the civil practice law and
     rules for a notice of pendency of action and shall have the
     same effect as such notice. It shall expire one year after
     filing, if no proceeding pursuant to this article has been
     commenced. Except as otherwise provided herein, all of the
     provisions of article sixty-five of the civil practice law
     and rules shall be applicable to the notice filed pursuant
     to this article.

2.   The department shall serve upon the owner of the dwelling, a
     copy of the certification. Service shall be made personally
     or by posting in a conspicuous place upon the dwelling and
     mailing a copy by registered or certified mail to the last
     known owner at such owner's last known address. In the case
     of a dwelling subject to the provisions of section three
     hundred twenty-five of the multiple dwelling law, such
     mailing may be made to the last registered owner at his last
     registered address. The copy of the certification shall be
     accompanied by a notice stating that proceedings pursuant to
     this title may be instituted unless the owner notifies the
     department that the property has not been abandoned.   Such
     notification shall be made by a showing that the conditions
     upon which the findings in such certification are based do
     not exist or have been corrected.

     Such showing shall be made not later than thirty days after
     the date of such notice.

3.   Within five days of the service of notice on the owner, a
     copy of the certification shall be served on each mortgagee,
     lienor and lessee of record, personally or by registered
     mail to the address set forth in the recorded instrument or,
     if no address appears therein, to the person at whose
     request the instrument was recorded. Such copy shall, in the
     case of a mortgagee or lienor, be accompanied by a notice
     that proceedings pursuant to this article may be instituted
     unless the mortgagee or lienor, within fifteen days of such
     mailing, either commences proceedings to foreclose the
     mortgage or lien or enters into an agreement with the
     department to bring the building into compliance with the
     applicable provisions of law.

4.   If the name or address of (a) the last owner of record; or
     (b) any owner, mortgagee, lienor, or claimant as shown on
     records maintained by any city official required by any
     local law to maintain records of persons entitled to notice
     or process in connection with the maintenance of in rem
     foreclosure actions; (c) the person listed as the owner of
     the property on the latest completed assessment roll, is
     different from that referred to in subdivisions two and
     three of this section, a copy of the notice to the owner, or
     to a mortgagee or lienor, whichever is applicable, shall
     also be sent to such person at such address by registered
     mail.


Sec. 1973.     COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDING.

1.   After all provisions of section nineteen hundred seventy-two
     of this article have been complied with, the department may
     commence a proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction
     in the county in which the dwelling is located, to vest
     title to the property in the city, town or village.

2.   The petition in such proceeding shall be accompanied by a
     copy of the certification and proof by affidavit that the
     provisions of section nineteen hundred seventy-two have been
     complied with and that no party served with the notice
     pursuant to such section has taken the appropriate action
     prescribed therein in response thereto.

3.   A copy of the petition shall be served on all persons to
     whom notice was given pursuant to section nineteen hundred
     seventy-two of this title by personal service pursuant to
     article three of the civil practice law and rules. A notice
     of pendency shall be filed in accordance with the provisions
     of section sixty-five hundred one of the civil practice law
     and rules. A copy of the petition shall also be posted in a
     conspicuous place on the premises in question, accompanied
     by a notice that any person having or claiming an interest
     in the property may appear at the hearing thereon to protect
     his interest.

4.   The petition shall be noticed to be heard not less than
     fifteen days after service is completed on all parties to
     the proceeding.

5.   A special proceeding pursuant to this article may also be
     commenced by order to show cause, in which case the manner
     of service and the time at which the order is returnable
     shall be as prescribed therein by the court.


Sec. 1974.     DECISION AND JUDGMENT OF COURT.

1.   If any party to the proceeding contests the issue of
     abandonment, the burden of proving that the dwelling is
     abandoned shall be upon the department, and the court shall
     make a finding based on the facts before it.

2.   Upon application by any party to the proceeding, the court
     may order a stay of the proceeding for such time as the
     court deems proper to permit the mortgagee or lienor to
     foreclose his mortgage or lien and to permit the owner,
     mortgager or lienor to enter the property to make repairs or
     if the property be vacant to seal or continuously guard the
     building as required by law. The court may impose such terms
     upon the owner, mortgagee or lienor as it deems proper for
     the issuance of said order, including the posting of such
     security, if any, as it may require. At the expiration of
     the period prescribed by the court, the court may extend the
     time of the owner, mortgagee or lienor to comply with the
     order, dismiss the proceeding if the owner, mortgagee or
     lienor has substantially complied with the order, or issue a
     judgment as provided in subdivision three of this section,
     if the court finds that the owner, mortgagee or lienor has
     failed to comply with the order.

3.   Upon a finding by the court that the dwelling is abandoned,
     the court shall enter a final judgment in favor of the
     petitioner. The fact that an administrator has been
     appointed pursuant to article seven-A of this chapter shall
     not prevent the court from entering a final judgment in
     favor of the petitioner upon a finding by the court that the
     dwelling is abandoned. The final judgment shall direct such
     officer of the city, town or village in which the dwelling
     is located as may be designated in the judgment to execute
     and record a deed conveying title of the premises to the
     city, town or village thirty days after entry of judgment.
     Upon the entry of such judgment the city, town or village
     shall be seized of an estate in fee simple absolute in such
     land and all persons, including the state of New York,
     infants, incompetents, absentees and non- residents who may
     have had any right, title, interest, claim, lien or equity
     of redemption in or upon such lands shall be barred and
     forever foreclosed of all such right, title, interest,
     claim, lien or equity of redemption.

4.   The provisions of section three hundred seventeen of the
     civil practice law and rules shall not apply to a proceeding
     instituted pursuant to this article. A motion or action to
     set aside a judgment in a proceeding instituted pursuant to
     this article on the grounds either that there was a failure
     to comply with the provisions of this article as to notice
     or that a defect in the proceeding prejudiced a substantial
     right of a party may be instituted within ninety days after
     the deed vesting title in a city has been recorded, but not
     thereafter.


5.   The right, title and interest of a purchaser or incumbrancer
     of a property as to which a deed vesting title in a city,
     town or village has been recorded pursuant to a judgment
     obtained through this article shall not be affected or
     impaired by a motion or action instituted more than ninety
     days after such deed vesting title in a city, town or
     village has been recorded.



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