NY State: Sweeping law secretly combats zombie homes

A new state law that requires banks to report and secure abandoned houses has been hailed as sweeping legislation for combating blight, but the most sweeping aspect of the law may be a section that keeps the information secret.

The so-called “zombie properties” law requires the Department of Financial Services to keep a registry of vacant properties. But DFS must treat the information as confidential, exempt it from the state Freedom of Information Law and restrict access even to elected officials.