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LI Residents Want Foreclosed 'Zombie Properties' Out Of Gold Coast Neighborhoods

OLD BROOKVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Many communities are dealing with run down properties, and some are nestled in between multi-million dollar mansions.

In Old Brookville on Long Island's "Gold Coast," where pristine properties sell for $2 million and up, one house stands out.

As CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, the house in question is on Pheasant Hill Lane. Residents say they have been asking their village to clean up the overgrown eyesore for years.

"I am really annoyed by the village's inaction. No matter how many times they are asked, you can't get an answer besides, 'We are looking into it,'" Steve Harris said.

CBS 2 couldn't get any answers either, even after repeated calls to the mayor of the tiny village.

This is far from an isolated case. There are 15,000 so-called zombie properties that plague neighborhoods across New York state -- foreclosed homes that banks are supposed to maintain.

Some towns are demolishing and launching expensive legal fights, but small municipalities appear powerless.

Bankruptcy Attorney William Waldner said that more of his clients are abandoning homes in wealthier neighborhoods that decay for years in New York's long foreclosure process.

"At the end of the day, the homeowner owns the lot, and the bank will own it if it is foreclosed," Waldner said.

The length of time that it takes to foreclose on a house in New York state is about twice the national average.

The banking industry has lobbied the state to speed up the foreclosure time frame, but state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed a registry of abandoned homes and requiring banks to maintain them.

Mayors are pushing for its passage early next year, but until then residents will be stuck with growing weeds, and falling property values.

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