Jersey City, NJ asked in Real Estate Law for New York

Q: Hello. The owner of the house that I live in died 2 years ago and no next of kin has come to claim the property.

No next of kin wants to pay the bills or maintain the property. I have been paying the water, electricity, gas, property tax and house insurance. How can I become the new ownwer?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You can file to be administrator of the estate based on the payments you made that make you a creditor. Then, you can sell the house to yourself. The issue will be if there is any mortgage. I suspect there is, or else there would be value for the heirs.

Barry Eran Janay agrees with this answer

Mitchell A. Nathanson
Mitchell A. Nathanson
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Garden City, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Understand that while you may be receiving a benefit for the utilities, you are likely throwing away money on the property tax and insurance. The mortgagee is likely to foreclose, otherwise there would be no reason for any beneficiaries to disclaim the inheritance. A speculator/prospector is likely to purchase at foreclosure and you may have no rights to recoup your expenses.

#LegalQ&A

Barry Eran Janay agrees with this answer

Barry Eran Janay
Barry Eran Janay
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Check whether there is a mortgage on it and if not apply to become the administrator and sell it to yourself like the other attorney suggested. If there is a mortgage then the bank will likely foreclose in due course and the new owner at the sale (which can be you if you want to bid on it) will eventually evict you.

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