DUANESBURG, N.Y. (WRGB) — SCHENECTADY (WRGB) - A Schenectady man says the eviction moratorium has created a nightmare for him after he decided to buy a foreclosed property in Duanesburg.
Giuseppe (Joe) Caschera bought the property, located on Western Turnpike, at the Schenectady County Tax Foreclosure Auction back in 2019 with big dreams.
But fast forward to 2021, he says this investment has turned into a nightmare - all thanks to the eviction moratorium.
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The town of Duanesburg is suing him for not addressing a list of code violations that he says he wants to fix but can’t because the former owner of the home is still occupying the property.
“The home is without power, without the ability to reconnect to the grid. It's without a primary source of heat, they have no power, they have no water, they don’t have a functioning septic system, they don’t have monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, so the town gave us violations that we had to fix all these problems,” said Caschera.
“Unfortunately, when there is an occupant in the home you can’t fix these problems. Every time we try to attempt to fix these problems we were told to leave the property by the sheriff's department, by the state troopers," said Caschera.
Because Caschera wasn’t able to fix the issues, the town filed a lawsuit against him.
Caschera says eviction proceedings started prior to the pandemic, but it just so happened that the first eviction moratorium went into effect a few days before the eviction date.
It’s been almost a year since New York State halted eviction proceedings due to the pandemic. The latest ban is in effect until May 1st.
He says he’s not even allowed on the property anymore.
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“Because we are not in custody of the property, we are not allowed to be on the property but yet the tax bill comes in the mail and is in my name,” said Caschera.
He brought his case to the New York State Supreme Court where the judge ruled in favor of the town of Duanesburg but prohibits the town from enforcing the order until 60 days after May 1st when the moratorium expires.
But with May still months away, Caschera says he’s afraid his property will be beyond repair by then.
“The occupant has destroyed the interior of the home, he’s cut the radiant heating from the home those are copper pipes, he scraps them for money, he’s taken the exterior storm windows from the home because they are made of aluminum for scrap. And we can’t do anything.
“My biggest concern right now is the occupant is illegally running a portable generator,” said Caschera. “There’s a huge fire hazard by running that generator.”
CBS6 reached out to Duanesburg Town Supervisor Roger Tidball for comment on the situation. He sent us this statement.
“Due to the moratorium on evictions the current owner of the property can not have the residents removed from the property so they can do the repairs that they are being required to do. The current owner has been in contact with the county and the town and every department of government that they could reach out to. The town code enforcement officials have been to the property several times to document their findings. The town has asked the attorneys who represent the town to follow up on the matter to help the matter of eviction. It is the hands of the Schenectady County Court at this time. But again the moratorium is not allowing the eviction to occur. I understand why the Governor has placed the moratorium to help protect residents who have lost wages and can not afford to pay rent or to pay their mortgages until the state is back at 100%, but this is a prime example that their needs to be considerations made for certain circumstances that involve safety. Hopefully this matter is handled as soon as possible for all parties.”