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Major adjustments announced re New Jersey’s foreclosure laws

It’s about time.

That is the likely reaction of legions of New Jersey residents in response to recent news spotlighting material changes on many fronts to state laws concerning home foreclosures.

We can well imagine at the Somerville Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh that many of our readers have been personally affected in some way by New Jersey’s foreclosure woes of the past decade. Those have been well chronicled both locally and nationally.

We recently alluded to the state’s foreclosure challenges in a February 15 blog post. We noted therein the attempt of lawmakers to craft meaningful and broadly bipartisan legislation to “attack the state’s stubborn foreclosure problems from multiple angles.”

Mission accomplished.

In a truly “big deal” moment, state Gov. Phil Murphy affixed his signature to a comprehensive package of bills late last month that centrally address foreclosure reform. The pointed goal of the legislation is to drive down the default rate through improved processes, greater public education and expedited timelines geared toward curbing ambiguity and drawn-out actions. Here are some key changes:

  • Heightened focus on foreclosure-linked mediation and counseling for homeowners, with enhanced options for loan modifications and/or refinancing
  • More stringent credential/licensing requirements imposed on mortgage servers
  • Expedited process for identifying vacant properties and getting them resold and occupied
  • More protective notice legislation that gives homeowners additional time to respond to intent-to-foreclose communications

One state lawmaker echoing the sentiments of many fellow legislators states that the new laws “will better the lives of thousands of New Jersey residents.”

That hope is of course widely shared all across the state.