Preventing zombie homes in Buffalo

Aug 9, 2013

There's a house on McKinley Parkway in South Buffalo with neighbors cutting the grass because they can't get any action from a Michigan bank which owns the property and won't sell. 

Vacant home on McKinley Parkway in South Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

It's part of a whole segment of the housing market causing problems in local neighborhoods, cities and suburbs. 

The ill-maintained homes taken over by banks, sometimes referred to as 'zombie homes' are where the banks started to foreclose and the residents left, but the banks didn't complete the foreclosures.

The situation is so bad that South District Common Council member Christopher Scanlon and his staff go out and cut grass on some of these buildings.

Overgrown around the vacant home.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said it's a city-wide problem.

"In other parts of the city, these properties can become so bad, these zombie properties, these uncompleted bank foreclosures that the city has no choice but to send in the Impact Team to try to provide some maintenance so the adjacent property owners and the nearby property owners don't have to suffer through those blighted conditions," said Mayor Brown.

Credit WBFO News photo by Mike DesmondNeighborhood that surrounds vacant at 124 McKinley in South Buffalo.Edit | Remove

Local lawmakers want state law changed to force banks to admit who owns a home and who is responsible to maintain it. 

Lawmakers also want to consider the creation of a possible prison term for bank executives who leave buildings to decay in a quality community like the area in South Buffalo affected by 124 McKinley.