Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, joined by North Hempstead Receiver Charles Berman and Oyster Bay Receiver James Stefanich, is responding to dozens of scared homeowners who have called the officials’ offices after receiving an ominous letter from a law firm that warns property owners that “a third-party has paid your taxes…” and “…time is limited, and you need to take immediate action to keep your home.” The officials stated that the letters unduly and unnecessarily alarm homeowners, many of whom are not in imminent danger of having their homes foreclosed, seized or otherwise taken from the rightful property owners. At the same time, the three Receivers provided no-cost information and advice to property owners who have received the “tax foreclosure” letters and may be seeking information on their property tax status and looking for advice on how to satisfy any past-due property tax payments.
“My office has received several calls from homeowners who were on the verge of tears, worried that their homes were going to be snatched from them after they received a very alarming letter from a law firm warning them that they must take immediate action to keep their homes,” stated Clavin. “My office has researched the properties of those who have called my office and many are NOT in any imminent danger of losing their homes. I think it is wrong to scare people in this way, and that is why we are sharing important information on this matter with area homeowners.”
Clavin, Berman and Stefanich said that property owners who have received the alarming letter should first call the Nassau County Treasurer’s Office to determine if there are past due taxes that have accrued. The Treasurer’s Office can provide exact amounts of any arrearage and furnish directions on making payments. They also can explain how certain tax liens that may exist can be satisfied upon payment of past due taxes to the Treasurer.
“Many times, resolving the issue of past-due taxes can be as simple as arranging for the payment of those taxes and any applicable penalties to the Nassau County Treasurer,” stated Berman. “I urge any homeowners who have received a ‘foreclosure letter,’ like those that have alarmed area neighbors recently, to call the Nassau County Treasurer to determine if there are past-due amounts and to arrange to bring property tax payments up to date if necessary.”
The officials also mentioned that other resources are available to homeowners who may have questions related to tax liens, including the issues of mortgage default and bank foreclosure, among other areas of concern. Included in the list of resources are:
- Nassau County Treasurer’s Office – Contact for information on the payment of past due taxes. Call (516) 571-2090 or visit the office at 1 West Street, Mineola, NY Residents can also access the Treasurer’s Office through Nassau County’s website (www.nassaucountyny.gov).
- Nassau County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service – A free-of-charge service that provides lawyer referrals for a full range of legal issues. Call (516) 747-4832.
- Org – A service for low and moderate income individuals that offers local free legal aid programs, answers questions and assists with legal problems. Visit online at lawhelp.org.
- New York Legal Assistant Group (NYLAG) – Offers various programs in local communities, providing free legal services to those in need. Visit NYLAG at nylag.org or call (212) 613-5000.
- HOPE NOW – A non-profit entity that has housing counselors who can offer advice on options that can avoid foreclosure. Call (888) 995-HOPE.
- New York State Department of Financial Services Homeowner Resource Center—Provides guidance for homeowners facing foreclosure. The office can be reached at (800) 342-3736.
“There are resources and information available for those who have fallen behind on property tax payments or people who have related concerns,” said Stefanich. “We don’t want to see anyone become frightened by a ‘foreclosure letter.’ By contacting the Nassau County Treasurer, you can resolve many tax delinquency situations.”
“It is not right to send homeowners a letter that frightens them by stating, ‘…time is limited, and you need to take immediate action to keep your home,’” said Clavin. “We are asking homeowners not to be scared if they receive such a letter. Rather, we are suggesting that homeowners contact the Nassau County Treasurer if they believe that they have past due taxes and want to resolve any amounts that may have fallen in arrears.”