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NY regulator fines PHH Mortgage over 'zombie' property maintenance

New York's Department of Financial Services ordered PHH Mortgage Corp. to pay a $119,000 fine for allegedly violating the state's Vacant and Abandoned Property Law.

That law requires banks and mortgage servicers to inspect, maintain and register their vacant and abandoned properties, particularly one- to four-family properties subject to a mortgage. Persistent violation may be punishable by a $500-per-day fine. Superintendent Maria Vullo said in a statement that "anything less [than full compliance] will be met with swift enforcement action."

PHH's alleged violation was in connection with a property in New Lebanon, N.Y.

The regulator also issued guidance reiterating banks' and mortgage servicers' obligations regarding the so-called "zombie" properties.