Senate Advances Bill Package To Combat Surge In Foreclosures

Trenton – Today, legislation from the foreclosure bill package sponsored by Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Troy Singleton, Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, and Senator Steve Oroho, which would tackle the surge in foreclosures and streamline the pending cases, advanced from the Senate.

The impetus of these bills stems from the report which was released in May of 2017 by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and the Special Committee on Residential Foreclosures.  This report was the culmination of work from key stakeholders in the process such as the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

“We all are aware that the surge in foreclosed properties continues to be an anchor that hinders more sustained economic growth in our state,”" said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “By solving the foreclosure issue, it will help increase property values and home prices, which will assist in improving our overall economic outlook. Therefore, New Jersey must adopt policies and programs that not only prevent foreclosures, but also stabilize neighborhoods.

“While this issue is not new, the comprehensive approach outlined in this bipartisan bill package is. It seeks to build upon the continued reduction in pending foreclosure cases and shorten the timeline to adjudicate these cases. This is a reflection of the work undertaken by the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government,” continued Singleton.

“There is a negative impact in neighborhoods and communities from having numerous foreclosed homes. They drive down the number of families interested in moving to our communities, and this can create a domino effect, which stifles economic growth throughout the state,” said Senator Addiego (D-Burlington/Atlantic/Camden). “This bill package will help us solve this problem and will reform procedures to make the foreclosure process more modernized.”

“Foreclosures are traumatic experiences that lead to the loss of a family home, a child’s school, and one’s sense of community,” Senator Steven Oroho (R-Morris/Sussex/Warren) said. “Currently we are unable to publicly track foreclosed homes throughout New Jersey. Creating an interactive statewide database of foreclosed homes can help towns register the mortgage holders on those properties, reducing the number of unoccupied houses that create economic and public safety issues in our neighborhoods. It can also help the public locate properties that can be purchased and rehabilitated into productive use. Turning vacant properties into livable homes will make New Jersey a safer and stronger state.”

The following legislation was sponsored by Senator Singleton, Senator Addiego, and Senator Oroho as a part of the bill package:

The first bill, S-3411, would require that a notice, with the intention to foreclose, would not be sent more than 180 days in advance of taking that action. Currently, a notice must be sent at least 30 days in advance of a residential mortgage lender initiating a foreclosure or other legal action to take possession of a residential property. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.

The second bill, S-3413, would make changes to the summary action foreclosure process under the “Fair Foreclosure Act” by clarifying the method by which foreclosed properties can be sold on an expedited timeline. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 36-0.

The third bill, S-3416, would clarify that the provisions of the “New Jersey Residential Mortgage Lending Act,” also apply to certain out-of-state persons and entities involved in residential mortgage lending in the State. Debtors would be provided with a notice that the lender is licensed in accordance with the Act. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 39-0.

The last bill, S-3464, would revise certain procedures under the “Fair Foreclosure Act” to expedite residential mortgage foreclosure proceedings. The bill would require the sheriff to conduct a foreclosure sale within 120 days of the sheriff's receipt of a writ of execution. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 36-1.