The tax lien sale: escaping from the danger

There’s different guidance on the subject of the tax lien sale. Directions from the Attorney General’s office says that NYC can’t impose tax lien sale decisions until after November 3rd, 2020. The NYC Department of Finance is reporting that the Mayor reassigned the lien sale to September 24th, 2020.

  • No matter the sale date, if you’re a homeowner and have the property tax debt or water/sewer obligations, or experienced emergency fixes created by the City, then you could well be in danger of getting your lien sold. The perfect choice is arranging an exemption or entering into the payment program to eliminate your house from the list as swiftly as possible.
  • The Department of Finance (DOF) is promoting you to submit your lien sale payment on the web or by email.

How to get off the list

First, you might be excluded from the tax lien sale if you can be regarded as a part of the following settlers:

  • senior citizen homeowners’ exemption (SCHE);
  • disabled homeowners’ exemption;
  • veterans exemption;
  • single-family homes with only water debt;
  • homeowners who have already become part of payment plans or pt aid;
  • water debt assistance program for multi-family homes;
  • state personal income tax (pit) circuit breaker tax credit;
  • the military personnel on duty may arrange an exemption as well, but they should complete an affidavit.

Don’t forget to verify your exemption with the bureau.

DOF, DEP, along with HPD inspire homeowners to utilize the following approaches to solve their lien:


Mail to present requests/enter into charge Arrangements

Submit or extend SCHE and DHE advantages on the web at DOF’s Lien Sale Resource Page

  • Mail payment strategy documentation to 59 Maiden Lane, 19th Floor Attn: Payment Plans New York, NY 10038
  • Mail SCHE/DHE submissions to the New York City Department of Finance, Homeowner Tax Benefits, P.O. Box 311, Maplewood, NJ 07040-0311
  • Mail renewal SCHE/DHE submissions to the New York City Department of Finance, Homeowner Tax Benefits, PO Box 3179, Union, NJ 07083
  • Payments can be made by telephone at (212) 291-2930.

Annually, the New York City Department of Finance sells the liens of estates that have outstanding debts – including land taxes, water bills, along with different charges – which may lead to a greater financial burden for families behind in their bills. Once a tax lien has been sold, a third-party, the collector will add interest and fees up to 18 percent, compounded each day. This mounting debt may cause a foreclosure.


  • Email inquiries to
  • Call (718) 595-7890 for lien sale assistance and 718-595-7000 for general inquiries


  • Email inquiries to – Email is HPD’s preferred communication method
  • Call (212) 863-6020 for lien sale-related and all HPD related charges

What is a tax lien?

In short, a lien is a debt taken against the price of a home. Possessing great liens isn’t awful, however, it might make you trouble if you don’t clearly understand the risks related to this particular debt.

Here we’ll explain taxation liens applied for unpaid real estate taxes and municipal water charges. If you’re a homeowner and also owe home tax or water/sewer obligations, or have recently experienced emergency fixes made by the City, then you could be in danger as your lien could be sold to a debt collector, that may almost immediately cause foreclosure.

But do not fear! There are always some options to protect you against this.

How the lien sale works

In NYC, homeowners on average need to pay for property taxes annually into the Department of Finance (DOF). Besides, monthly municipal water charges are paid to the Department of Environmental Protection. Even if a homeowner uses a Reverse Mortgage option or is qualified to receive property tax exemptions, they must either cover their taxes or apply for exemptions yearly. If exemptions aren’t paid or perhaps a strategy to cover them has not been arranged before the lien sale day, the City will sell your debt to some collector.

Once a lien has been sold to another party, they could and, probably, would add interest and fees up to 18 percent on the debt. Paying the increased debt can be overwhelming, particularly if your current budget is tight. The situation may end up with a foreclosure in just a half a year after the sale, in the event the interest on your debt remains unpaid without a payment program has been set up. It requires a lot less time to submit a foreclosure for an unpaid lien than in case of mortgage debt. If you’re behind on your mortgage and taxation at the same time, we advise you to contact your mortgage firm to go over how to fix your lien or contact us for free aid.

Am I at risk?

While the tax lien sale does occur each season, liens sold are generally much older. For 1-3 family homes, a tax lien sale comes when your homeowner has lasted a debt of $1000 for more than 3 years. For 2-3 family homes, a sewer or water debt of $2000 is also sold whether it was due for more than a calendar year.

Get off the lien sale list!

Once a lien purchase date has been announced, DOF will ship notices to homeowners at risk. The fact you did not get a note does not mean you are safe, you might nevertheless be around the selling list. Not receiving the note doesn’t excuse one from the lien purchase. DOF publishes the listing of properties that qualify for the lien sale 90, 60, 30, and 10 days ahead of the action. It’s possible to refer to this latest list to ensure whether you might be on the list.

You’ve got several options to Eliminate from the list before the Purchase date:

  1. Pay your tax lien charges fully to DOF or water charge charges into DEP.
  2. Enter into a no money down payment plan to split your lien into smaller payouts for up to 10 years.
  3. Employ to get an exemption.
  4. Defer paying your property taxes together with DOF’s Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) Program.

Deferring Your Property Taxes

Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) Program is a new opportunity offering three different payment plans to defer your property taxes for one to three-family homes and condos. All programs require a gross federal adjusted income of $58,399, and that the home is a participant’s  primary residence for a 1-year minimum:

  1. The Low Income Senior Plan is for homeowners 65 and older earning below the gross revenue limit.
  2. The Fixed-Term Income-Based Plan will be for homeowners who make below the gross revenue limit.
  3. The Extenuating Circumstances Income-Based Plan is best suited for people who have undergone hardships such as home owner’s death, disease, or lack of revenue.

You don’t need to be on the lien sale list to input to participate in one of the tax deferment programs. But, you need to match the qualifications for each strategy. You can defer no more than 25 percent of the equity you’ve got in your 1-3 family residence or up to 50 percent of the equity in your condo unit. Please look up the program’s site for more detailed credentials for each strategy.

Even the PT AID might well not be ideal for every homeowner, thus there are several considerations you should remember before stepping into a deferral program. Homeowners stepping within these plans should observe that all unpaid debt accrues interest, that DOF has set at 7 percent. Homeowners also need to remember that all payment plan information is published openly on the city’s register of real estate trades. Additionally, observe the unpaid debts and interest becomes due upon the sale or transfer of the house to new ownership in the event the previous owner dies.

Where to get help

To manage unpaid property taxation, dial 311 and talk with DOF directly to produce a payment, or check their internet site at to acquire a payment agreement or whole exemption forms.

To get sewer and water payments, telephone (718) 595-7000 to get in touch with the DEP or see their site to pay for on the web. For the first time, the City offers a one-time exclusion and permits homeowners who’ve defaulted on payment plans to input into a new payment plan.

Talk to your bank/mortgage servicer

Mortgage servicers in many cases are keen to pay off a lien to safeguard their interest in your property. For those who own a lien in your home, possibly your servicer doesn’t know that. If you cannot pay the lien straight away, contact your servicer – likely they’ll repay the lien and also treat it as an escrow advance to be repaid with time. But, you are going to have to be cautious that the payment is affordable, therefore make sure you comprehend fully what impact this could have on monthly payments. If you believe that it won’t be affordable, reach for us! Assess your latest mortgage statement for the own mortgage servicer’s contact info.