New York state has created a new consumer hotline to help identify vacant properties.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the number - (800) 342-3736 - on Tuesday. It's part of a larger effort by the state aimed at addressing the large number of vacant and abandoned properties known as zombie homes.
The hotline will allow local residents and officials to report vacant properties. The state is now compiling a list of all such homes and will require banks and lenders to ensure the property is maintained before foreclosure.
Officials estimate that New York state has more than 6,000 zombie homes. Many fall into disrepair when residents move out while the lengthy foreclosure process drags on.
Cuomo says zombie homes can bring down property values and negatively impact entire neighborhoods.