NEW YORK STATE
REAL PROPERTY ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS LAW
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.
1973. Commencement of proceeding.
1974. Decision and judgment of court.
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
(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
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
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
4. The petition shall be noticed to be heard not less than
fifteen days after service is completed on all parties to
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
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.