January 16, 2019
DFS FINES SN SERVICING CORP. $100,000 FOR VIOLATIONS OF VACANT AND ABANDONED PROPERTY LAW
SN Servicing Failed to Maintain Two Properties in Gloversville, NY, for 230 and 232 Days, Respectively, and Failed to Respond to DFS Notices Regarding the Properties on a Timely Basis
Failure to Comply with Maintenance Obligations is Subject to Enforcement Action and a Fine of $500 for Each Day a Violation Exists
Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has fined SN Servicing Corp., a New York State-registered mortgage loan servicer, $100,000 for failing to maintain two properties in Gloversville, N.Y., under New York’s Abandoned Property Relief Act, which requires banks and mortgage services to fulfill certain maintenance obligations at “zombie” properties.
“Banks and mortgage servicers that do not uphold their responsibility to maintain vacant and abandoned properties will be held accountable by DFS,” Superintendent Vullo said. “Under New York’s Vacant and Abandoned Property Law, anyone can report a vacant and abandoned property to ensure full compliance with the law and the correction of any violations to help combat the blight of zombie properties on New York neighborhoods.”
The properties were brought to the Department’s attention by the local fire department, which filed a complaint that both properties were vacant and not being maintained. Although the properties were not registered as required by the Act, DFS was able to identify SN Servicing as the responsible servicer. In August 2017, DFS issued notices to SN Servicing that the properties were not in compliance with the requirements of the law and required a response from SN Servicing within 14 days.
SN Servicing responded by refusing to maintain the properties because, it claimed, the mortgagee would not authorize such maintenance. SN Servicing later claimed that the properties were not subject to the requirements of the Act because lien releases, executed in April 2018 but backdated to July 2017, extinguished its maintenance obligation. Neither of the reasons offered by SN Servicing excuse its failure to maintain the properties.
At one property, SN Servicing failed: to properly secure the premises; to maintain the premises in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary; to maintain premises free of rubbish and debris; to keep all windows, doors and frames in sound condition, good repair and weather tight; and to keep all sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking areas and similar areas in a proper state of repair and maintained free from hazardous conditions.
At the other property, SN Servicing failed: to maintain the premises in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary; and to keep all sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking areas and similar areas in a proper state of repair and maintained free from hazardous conditions.
Under the consent order announced today, SN Servicing, in addition to the significant fine, will provide confirmation to DFS within 30 days that all properties subject to the requirements of New York’s Vacant and Abandoned Property Law have been registered with the DFS registry of vacant and abandoned properties, are being maintained and that all quarterly filings have been made for each property. In addition, SN Servicing will provide the same confirmation to DFS on a bi-monthly basis, along with inspection reports and maintenance records.
A copy of the consent order can be found here.