Monroe County ordered to absorb the cost related to zombie homes in towns

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Town of Irondequoit and Brighton went to court against Monroe County over ‘zombie homes’, or abandoned homes that sit idle in the community.

The towns were originally paying for maintenance and demolition of the former homes with county funding. That addition aid ended in 2016. This week, the court of appears said by law, the county had to absorb the cost of all the project related to the abandoned residences.

“Today, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling invalidating Monroe County’s 2016 policy to no longer guarantee unpaid property maintenance and demolition charges that towns like Irondequoit affix to tax bills of abandoned and neglected properties. This is major victory for towns in our fight against ‘zombie homes,” Irondequoit Town Supervisor Dave Seeley said in a statement.

“Upon issuance of the policy, Irondequoit and Brighton swiftly litigated this policy, which aimed to withhold sales tax revenue from local governments as a means of enforcement. If the Court had found in favor of the County, it would have had implications for towns across New York State, who are working to combat the threat posed by zombie homes.

This opinion by the Court maintains the little leverage that towns have in enforcing compliance with property maintenance codes.”

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