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In a multi-pronged effort related to increasing real estate foreclosures, companion bills in both the New York state Senate and Assembly have been introduced that put more of an onus on banks and other financial institutions.

State Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, is pushing for a new bill that would require financial institutions to notify a property owner, who may have fallen behind on mortgage payments, of a number of resources, services and agencies they can work with to help resolve the situation.

Kennedy’s legislation would also require that the financial institutions send a written notice to the property holder if a mortgage is in default by 30 days, informing them of the status and point out opportunities to avert the foreclosure process as well as a responsibility to maintain the property, even if it is in foreclosure.

The companion portion of Kennedy’s bill would also require financial institutions, during the foreclosure process, maintain the property and not leave it derelict. If the home is abandoned because of the foreclosure process, the new law would require financial institutions to cover all the costs associated with the property’s upkeep.

A similar set of legislation is working its way through the state Assembly in bills being proposed by Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo.

Locally the issue has come to light as such diverse groups as the Cheektowaga Town Board and Buffalo South District Councilman Chris Scanlon have complained about properties in the foreclosure process that are not being maintained and have become neighborhood eyesores.

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