A tax lien is a legal claim placed on your property by the City due to unpaid property taxes, water and sewer charges, and other property-related charges.

If you don’t resolve your debt, the City will sell the lien to an authorized private collection agency. When the City sells a lien, it’s not selling your property. The lien holder buys the right to collect the money that you owe the City. Liens are never offered for sale to the general public.

Once the lien is sold, if you haven’t paid the lien in full or entered into a payment agreement with the new lien holder, the lien holder may begin formal foreclosure proceedings.

If the City places a lien on your property and the lien may be sold in the upcoming lien sale, the Department of Finance will mail you warning notices.

If you receive a notice, you should take one of the following steps to avoid having your property sold in the lien sale:

  • Pay the amount you owe
  • Apply for a property tax exemption
  • Enroll in a payment plan or deferral program
  • Request military debt relief

The City can place a lien against your property if you haven’t paid one or more of the following:

  • Property taxes
  • Water or sewer charges, including surcharges
  • Other property charges (including sidewalk repair, vacant lot cleaning, emergency repair program charges, and alternate enforcement program charges)
  • Interest, fines, or fees on the taxes and charges described above

Owners in Delinquent Payment Plans

If you entered into a payment agreement with the Department of Finance (DOF) or the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in previous years and haven’t made the required payments for six months, you can still have a lien placed on your property.

If you received a notice for a lien sale that took place from 2011 to 2018 and signed a payment agreement, and you receive a warning that your property may be included in the 2019 Lien Sale, it means that the agreement is not up to date (required payments have not been made for six months). You have until August 1, 2019 to bring the agreement up to date.

You may only enter into a new payment agreement if you qualify for extenuating circumstances or if you pay 20% down for all charges, interest, and fees owed. To learn more about extenuating circumstances and payment plan rules, go to the Property Tax Payment Plan page.

If you received a lien sale notice and you believe you have made all the required payments or if you want to bring your payments up to date, you should contact DOF or DEP.

Not-for-Profits

If the property that received the tax lien sale notice is owned by a not-for-profit, a representative from the not-for-profit should contact DOF immediately through their website.

Contact the Department of Finance.

Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) Rental Properties

Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) rental properties can be included in the lien sale if they have $5,000 of unpaid charges that are outstanding for 2 years or more in one of the following categories:

  • Property taxes
  • Water or sewer bills
  • Emergency repair charges

To keep your property from being included in the 2019 lien sale, you must resolve your debt by August 1, 2019. This is the last day to pay to be excluded from this year's lien sale.

The Department of Finance recommends that you pay online or in person to ensure the payment is posted before the deadline.

If you have $1,000 or more past due on your property taxes or other property-related charges, the Department of Finance is legally required to send you notices about your debt. Payment past due notices are sent in late October and in mid-January with the Annual Notice of Property Value (NOPV) and tell you what to do to avoid having a lien placed on your property.

If the City places a lien on your property, DOF will then mail you a Notice of Intention to Sell Liens. Notices are sent 90 days, 60 days, 30 days, and 10 days before the lien sale. You can get a lien sale warning notice even if you are on a payment plan. If you get a warning notice, it's because DOF's records show that you are not up to date with your payments.

Lien sale warning notices include answers to frequently asked questions about the lien sale and the Exemption Eligibility Checklist.

You can get a copy of the 90-Day Lien Sale Notice.

Online

Download the 90-Day Lien Sale Notice.

Download the 90-Day Lien Sale Notice in ArabicBengaliChineseFrenchHaitian CreoleKoreanPolishRussianSpanish, or Urdu.

By Mail

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

After your payment is processed by the Department of Finance (DOF), you will receive a notice informing you that your property is no longer subject to the lien sale. It can take three weeks to affect the Lien Notice cycle. This means if you pay your debt close to the time the next Lien Notice is mailed, you may get that notice even though you have paid your debt.

Even if you are disputing your property's assessment or charges, you must have paid your taxes and charges in full or arranged for a payment agreement to avoid having your lien sold. Properties with outstanding charges for a legally specified time can be included in the lien sale even if the charges are being disputed. If your dispute is successful, you will be entitled to a refund of any overpayment.

Water and Sewer Debt

If you owe only water and sewer charges and not any property-related charges or taxes, you should visit a DEP Borough Office or call DEP to make a payment.

You can learn how to pay water and sewer bills on the Water and Sewer Bill Payment page.

Property Taxes and Related Charges

You can pay property taxes and related charges online, by mail, or in person. If you decide to pay after July 1, DOF recommends that you pay online or in person to ensure the payment is posted by the August 1, 2019 deadline.

Online

Visit the Property Tax Payment page to learn how to pay online.

By Mail

You can pay your debt by mail. You should pay by official bank check or money order to ensure the payment is posted before the deadline.

If you pay by check, you're authorizing DOF either to use information from your check as a one-time electronic fund transfer (EFT) from your account or to process the payment as a check transaction. You can't opt out of the electronic transfer. If your check is processed as an EFT, you won't get your check back.

You should:

  • Write the Borough, Block, and Lot Number (BBL) of your property on your check or money order. If you don't include the BBL, it may take much longer to process your payment.
  • If applicable, specify whether your payment is for a specific Emergency Repair or Alternate Enforcement charge.
  • Pay by official bank check or money order. 

If you owe both property taxes and water or sewer charges, do not combine the payments. Use separate checks to the NYC Department of Finance and NYC Water Board. You may still use the same envelope.

Send payment to:

NYC Department of Finance
P.O. Box 680
Newark, NJ 07101-0680

In Person

You can pay both property taxes and water bills together in person at any DOF Business Center using cash, personal check, certified check, or money order. As the deadline approaches, you should pay by official bank check or money order to ensure the payment is posted before the deadline.

If you owe only water and sewer charges, you should visit or contact the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to make a payment.

DOF Business Centers are extending their hours to help customers who need to make payments to avoid the lien sale. Visit the Property Tax Payment page for more information about payments at DOF Business Centers.

Your residential property may be excluded from the lien sale if you qualify for certain tax benefits.

You may qualify for an exemption that will take your property out the lien sale if you:

  • Are a senior
  • Have a disability
  • Are a veteran or family member of a veteran
  • Receive the NY State Circuit Breaker Credit

The property must be a 1-, 2-, or 3-family house and must be your primary residence to be eligible.

Visit the following pages to learn more about exemption eligibility:

If your property is on the lien sale list and you think you are eligible for one or more of the qualifying exemptions, fill out and send the Exemption Checklist you received with your tax lien sale warning notice as soon as possible.

DOF uses your checklist to determine whether you are eligible for one or more of these exemptions. Completing only the checklist doesn't remove your property from the lien sale. If you are eligible for one or more of these exemptions, DOF will send you a Lien Sale Exemption Application to complete and send back to them.

If you qualify for an exemption, you will receive a notice informing you that your property is no longer subject to the lien sale and you will start receiving the exemption in the 2020-2021 tax year.

    If you need another copy of the lien sale exemption application, you can download it online or get a copy by mail.

    Download the Lien Sale Exemption Application.

    Call 311 for assistance.

    New York State Property Tax Credit

    The New York State Real Property Tax Credit, also known as the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, is a refundable credit that you claim when filing your taxes.

    If you received the credit, you can be excluded from the lien sale. To be excluded, you must have received the credit for the year prior to the lien sale. For example, if you are eligible for the lien sale in 2019, you must have received the credit for your 2018 taxes, which you file in 2018.

    The Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is administered by New York State.

    For more information about the credit, consult your tax professional or get information from the State.

    Visit the Department of Taxation and Finance website.

    The NYC Enhanced Real Property Tax Credit is NOT the same as the New York State Real Property Tax Credit (Circuit Breaker Tax Credit). Receiving the NYC Enhanced Real Property Tax Credit does NOT exclude you from the lien sale.

    If you are facing hardship and aren’t able to pay all of your debt at once, you may still be able to avoid the lien sale if you apply for a payment plan.

    If you owe only water or sewer charges, visit the Water and Sewer Lien Sale  page to learn about payment plans and the Water Debt Assistance Program.

    If you owe property taxes and related charges, you can apply for a payment plan with the Department of Finance.

    Standard Payment Plan

    If you owe property taxes and charges other than water and sewer, you must submit a payment agreement application in person at a DOF Business Center or a Lien Sale Outreach event. You can't submit your application online or by mail.

    With a DOF payment agreement, you can choose:

    • Quarterly or monthly payments
    • An agreement period of 1 to 10 years
    • Whether or not to make a down payment

    Once your plan is set up, you will have to pay both your current property taxes and your scheduled payment for the plan. You must make your scheduled payments on time. If you fail to do so for 6 months, your agreement will be in default and you may receive tax lien sale warning notices.

    For applications, required documents, a payment calculator, and more information, go to the Property Tax Payment Plan page.

    Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) Plan

    The Property Tax and Interest Deferral (PT AID) program helps homeowners who are experiencing hardship defer payments for past and future property taxes and avoid the tax lien sale.

    You may be eligible for a PT AID payment plan if:

    • You own a 1-, 2-, or 3-family home or a condominium unit
    • The property has been your primary residence for one year or more
    • The total income for all owners is $58,399 or less (federal adjusted gross income)

    If you owe only property taxes and related charges, and you enter into a PT AID agreement, your property will not be included in the lien sale. If you owe water and sewer charges, you need to resolve them or enter into a payment agreement with DEP to have your property removed from the lien sale.

    For more information, visit the Property Tax Payment Deferral page.

    If you are an active member of the military (or a representative of one), you can request relief from property tax debt.

    Debt relief is provided under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act.

    To be eligible, you must be one of the following:

    • An active member of the military
    • A reservist ordered to report for induction or for military service
    • A service member's spouse or registered domestic partner
    • A service member's dependent, such as an unmarried child under the age of 18, an unmarried child and full-time student between ages 18 to 23, or others for whom the service member provided at least 50% of their support for 180 days before the date of the application.

    You can learn more on the Debt Relief for Military Service Members page.

    After the Department of Finance (DOF) publishes the 90-day Lien Sale Notice, it is public record. Some homeowners may receive loan offers they didn’t request. Be careful if you receive a loan offer after the list is published. The offer may not be in your best interest.

    Lenders know that if your property is on the lien sale list, you owe the City money. Some dishonest lenders might try to take advantage of your financial situation, and you could lose your property.

    Be sure to research all lenders, seek guidance from independent sources, and be careful. Don’t risk losing your home to a predatory lender if you can’t repay the money you borrow.

    DOF and the NYC Sheriff's Office don’t call property owners to threaten eviction for unpaid taxes. If your property is included in the lien sale, you will receive official notices from DOF in the mail. If you receive a call threatening eviction due to unpaid property taxes, the call is fraudulent. If you believe that you are being targeted as part of a scam or other illegal activity, please contact the Sheriff's Office.

    Call 311 for assistance.

    If you received a Notice of Sold Lien from the Department of Finance, it means your property was included in the Lien Sale because you had unpaid property tax or property-related or water charges.

    This notice tells you:

    • Who bought the lien
    • How much you owe
    • What happens now
    • Who to contact

    Once a lien is sold, a 5% surcharge on the entire lien amount plus interest and other administrative charges, such as legal and advertising fees, are added and must be paid to the lien holder.

    About a month and a half after a lien is sold, owners will receive a letter from the lien servicer who bought their lien. You should contact the Lien Holder or its authorized representative for additional information. Property owners should not deal with anyone other than the lien holder or its authorized representatives.

    If you haven't paid the lien in full or entered into a payment agreement with the new lien holder, the lien holder can begin formal foreclosure proceedings in court within one year of the lien sale date. Foreclosure can also begin if you don't pay the semi-annual interest on the lien sale amount within 30 days after it is due.

    2019 Lien Servicers

    For liens sold in August 2019, the lien servicers are:

    MTAG Services
    (800) 750-9210
    support@MTAGServices.com

    Tower Capital Management
    (800) 970-8454
    NYCTLservicing@tcmfund.com

    There are resources available to property owners who need help to avoid the lien sale. If you received a warning notice that your property may be included in the 2018 tax lien sale because you have unpaid property tax, you can get help understanding property liens.

    Online

    Learn more about the lien sale.

    In Person

    The Departments of Finance (DOF), Environmental Protection (DEP), and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) hold Lien Sale Outreach Sessions to provide owners with one-on-one assistance with their lien sale questions and issues.

    For dates and locations, visit the Department of Finance Public Events page.

    By Phone

    Call 311 for assistance.

    Need more help?

    If you have already contacted the Department of Finance about an issue and were unable to resolve it, visit the Taxpayer Advocate page to learn how to get help.