Property Owners Face Foreclosure Over Unpaid Water Bills

Thousands of property owners in the city face eventual foreclosure for unpaid taxes or water bills - even if they owe just a thousand dollars. WNYC's Arun Venugopal has more.

While some property owners have more than a hundred thousand dollars in unpaid water bills, most owe only a few thousand. But that's enough to put you on the lien list. Meaning that if you haven't set a payment schedule with the city's Department of Finance by April 30th, your debt can be sold to a private lender at the next city lien sale.

Those lenders can charge up to 18 percent interest on your debt. And if you're not able to make your payments in the next year, you could face foreclosure. The lien sales have dramatically reduced the overall debt the city has to collect from delinquent homeowners.

But local lawmakers say the more aggressive collection standards will only compound problems, in neighborhoods already hurt by the economy. For WNYC, I'm Arun Venugopal.