A Joint Project of Columbia Law School's Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, the Western New York Law Center and the Erie County Clerk’s Office.

Welcome to the Zombie Properties Project

The Zombie Properties Project brings together law students, municipal officials, and previously foreclosed-on property owners to (1) combat the threat posed to communities across New York by “Zombie Properties,” and (2) restore any surplus moneys from the auction of foreclosed properties to their rightful owners. Zombie properties are blighting influences on communities that bring down property values and can pose health and safety risks to neighbors. This project is a collaboration between the Western New York Law Center, Columbia Law School’s Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic, and the Erie County Clerk’s Office.

If you are a New Yorker whose property has been foreclosed on and would like to find out more information on surplus moneys from foreclosure auctions, or whether you are eligible to recover such surplus funds, please click here.

If you are a New York homeowner in danger of being foreclosed on, please visit the New York Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Project website, or call 855-HOME-456 to be connected with a legal services or housing counseling organization near you.

You can learn more about your rights as a homeowner in a foreclosure action by reading the New York Department of Financial Service’s Residential Foreclosure Action Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.

Slideshow of Vacant Properties
Photos courtesy of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation

Law students – work online, remotely towards fulfilling your law school’s and/or the New York State 50-hour pro bono requirement. Students are sought to do the necessary research in connection with holding non-compliant mortgage holders (typically banks or mortgage servicers) accountable for not maintaining vacant properties that are on the brink of foreclosure. Volunteers will learn how to search various databases remotely for useful information and to fill out reports to best help New York municipalities.

Municipal officials are invited to join the site to submit information on vacant properties in their communities that require investigation as potential Zombie Properties. Municipal officials may also use the resources here to begin pursuing enforcement through fines.

Attorneys representing clients who might be eligible to recover tax surplus funds are invited to apply in order to access materials necessary for obtaining tax surpluses.

On this site:

See Media Coverage of the Project

Existing Volunteers:

Existing Municipal Officials:

Approved Attorneys:

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