The Zombie Fight Project has been in negotiations with Citizens Bank since filing a lawsuit in Sept 2017. Last night, the City Council unanimously gave Niagara Falls Community Development approval to enter into a settlement with Citizens Bank. Reaching a settlement is a huge win for us!
The lawsuit against Citizens Bank is one of the first of its kind, as it was brought under the New York State Zombie Property and Foreclosure Prevention Law that was passed in December 2016. Being one of the first municipalities to take legal action pursuant to the new law has established Niagara Falls as a leader in the field. Our successful model is built on innovation, strategy, and dedication and has created a model that is being followed by other municipalities state wide.
This settlement is important as it establishes a specific timeline on all current and future Citizens Bank foreclosures, requiring Citizens Bank to file for expedited foreclosure (as outlined in the law) within 60 days of last date of default (assuming the defendant does not appear). It also requires Citizens Bank to notify us 30 days prior to all foreclosure sales, which allows us to keep better track of what happens to properties after foreclosure is complete.
This lawsuit has had indirect results as well, as it has inspired many banks to take a proactive approach to working with us and other municipalities across the state. The work we are doing here, in the City of Niagara Falls, is having many affects statewide.
We are happy with this settlement and thank Citizens Bank for their willingness to work with us in reaching this resolution. On to the next one!