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New Jersey moves to fast track vacant foreclosures

Moving vacant properties through the foreclosure process can be difficult in New Jersey, but advocates of a bill that would expedite the move of abandoned homes into foreclosure are more confident after the legislation's recent passage in the state Senate.

New Jersey Senate Bill 2156, a proposed bill that would allow courts to grant summary foreclosure action when a property is deemed vacant, is now heading to the state Assembly.

New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak proposed the bill, which would deem certain properties "vacant and abandoned," giving the court the right to grant a summary foreclosure action to move the property into the hands of a party that can care for the unit.

The bill would require that the parties in court present "clear and convincing evidence" that the real estate is vacant and abandoned.  Meeting two of several property conditions would help establish the real estate as vacant and permissible to foreclose on. Among those factors would be overgrown vegetation, the accumulation of newspapers, fliers and garbage, as well as broken doors and windows or safety and welfare threats.

The bill will still have to pass through the state's assembly before it's shipped off to Governor Chris Christie. Scott Nowak with the MBA released an alert on the bill this week, saying it's an amended bill that would go around some of the current requirements in the Fair Foreclosure Act.

"Essentially, the bill would add to the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act the ability for a lender to proceed in a summary fashion with a foreclosure in court once a foreclosure action has been properly filed," he explained in his update.

"A final residential mortgage foreclosure judgment may then be entered by the court if, by clear and convincing evidence, the property is found to be vacant and abandoned; proper summary judgment procedures are followed; and no answer, written objection, or appearance asserting a defense or proper cause would preclude a judgment."

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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