In response to the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of New York has postponed the annual tax lien sale until August.

Each year, the City of New York holds the sale, resulting in thousands of property owners seeing their debt from property taxes as well as sewer and water charges sold to private investors. Private investors can then add charges and higher interest rates to the purchased debt, sending many property owners into foreclosure.

“We understand right now people’s lives have been turned upside down. They don’t have money to pay bills. We want to be fair. We want to be understanding,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday in announcing that the sale would be postponed. He said the sale would be pushed back until August “initially,” though he did not give an exact date.

The annual tax lien sale was set for April 14, and last week the Center for NYC Neighborhoods along with the Coalition for Affordable Homes, called for the tax lien sale to be canceled as families face financial hardship from loss of income or jobs due to the novel coronavirus crisis.

“As New Yorkers adhere to the stay-at-home order from our government leaders, we cannot undermine the importance of home stability by proceeding with the tax lien sale, which will exacerbate the economic fallout from the crisis and disproportionately impact vulnerable seniors and communities of color,” the Coalition said in a statement.

The law that permits the tax lien sale would have to be changed to cancel it, and instead officials chose to postpone it.

If you think you may be on the tax lien sale list, we recommend that you review and pay your outstanding property tax and sewer/water debts if possible. If you need assistance with paying for your debts, filing for a tax lien sale exemption, or determining eligibility for tax relief programs, please contact the Center’s Homeowner Hub at (646) 786-0888. Read more about the annual tax lien sale and how it might affect you on HomeownerHelpNY, a website backed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Center.

All in-person tax lien sale services have been suspended until further notice because of the outbreak. All agencies dealing with tax lien debt are still available by phone, email, and snail mail.

  • NYC Department of Finance’s (DOF) tax lien Ombudsman
  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) (all HPD debts are paid through DOF)
  • NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), water and sewer payments only

Do you still have questions? Email us at info@cnycn.org and sign up for our newsletter to get updates like this one.