Legislature Passes Rule Giving Families a Chance to Buy Back Homes

By Matt Porter

Broome County Legislature passes amendment changing law giving families a chance to buyback foreclosed homes, with conditions.

January 31, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 2:18 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Broome County Legislature approved an amendment that gives families a chance to buy back their foreclosed homes -- with some conditions.

In a unanimous vote, the legislature amended the foreclosure tax law to provide a new opportunity for homeowners to buy back their foreclosed homes.

The old law provided for a 120-day grace period before the county foreclosed on the home for good. And families who come up with the money after the grace period could not buy back their home even if the county could be in possession of the home for weeks or months after the amnesty period ended.

Halyna Kurylo's twin brother Volodomyr came up with her back taxes and fees after the grace period. But the county refused his check.

Halyna Kurylo was glad the legislature amended the law, but is concerned about the ultimate decision.

"I'm happy that this resolution passed," Kurylo said, "I'm not happy that it's left in one person's hand."

The county's new law allows the director of real property, Kevin Keough, to offer the home back to the owner if they meet one of four criteria, including up to the day of auction.

The four criteria are:

1) Incompetence: If the homeowner suffers from a disability like dementia or other mental impairment that would interfere in their ability to properly pay taxes;

2) Lack of Notification: If the homeowner can prove the county did not provide the required amount of notification regarding foreclosure;

3) Catastrophic Financial Hardship;

4) Catastrophic Health Hardship.

The last two are not specifically defined and would be determined by the real property director on a case by case basis.

Democrat Dan D. Reynolds proposed removing the four criteria and let anyone who comes up with all the taxes and fees before the county sells their property to buy their home back.

"I'm of the opinion that we shouldn't be profiting on people's inability to pay on time," Reynolds said. "If they eventually pay us, plus all the interest and penalties."

Reynolds' amendment failed 8-5.