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Letter: Let towns put zombie homes up for auction

Workmen are seen through the notices left on

Workmen are seen through the notices left on the door of an abandoned Mastic house, at 4 Sinclair St., that will be fixed under a new program. Reconstruction began Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, on the house, which is the first zombie home acquired by Suffolk County's land bank. Photo Credit: Chuck Fadely

Towns have been repairing zombie homes for several years without eliminating the blight of foreclosed houses [“Adopt a statewide fix to banish zombie homes,” Editorial, June 2]. Towns are spending increased amounts to try to reduce the impact on neighbors. Banks do not repay the towns for repairs until foreclosures are complete, which is usually many years after the start of proceedings.

New legislation to put the burden of maintenance on the banks or require a security deposit would not advance the goal of putting this housing back on the market, where it can become homes for families.

There is a better way. Counties or towns should use eminent domain to condemn zombie homes. It is in the public interest to eliminate these nuisances. They would then be auctioned to the public and the proceeds paid into court. The purchasers would own properties without liens. The foreclosures would have no effect on the new owner.

A similar process has been used for years to confiscate real estate from owners who do not pay their property taxes.

Lawrence Donohue, West Islip