From Final Judgment to Eviction
A final judgment is not the last step in the foreclosure process. After the entry of final judgment there are a number of steps that must occur. These steps can sometimes proceed swiftly, and other times take much longer. Cases can be resolved after the entry of final judgment, either through loan modification, short sale, or other avenues. Below is a brief summary of the steps that occur after final judgment through eviction.
Writ of Execution
When a plaintiff applies for final judgment in a foreclosure matter, it has to submit a number of items to the Foreclosure Unit in Trenton. Among the items that have to be submitted are a proposed Writ of Execution. If the Foreclosure Unit is satisfied with the submitted items, it will enter Final Judgment and issue a Writ of Execution.
Next, the plaintiff will submit the Writ of Execution to the local Sheriff for the county in which the property is located. Depending on a variety of factors, the time between entry of final judgment and submission of the Writ of Execution can vary. However, since the Writ is valid for 1 year, the plaintiff generally will not wait very long to submit the Writ.
When the Sheriff receives the Writ of Execution, he will schedule a date for the sale of the property by auction within 120 days. The Sheriff will provide notice of the sale by physically posting a notice at the property and by publication of the sale date. After the sale occurs and the Sheriff delivers the deed to the property to the buyer. If there are no bids at the auction, the plaintiff bank will buy the property back.
At this point, the plaintiff may apply for a Writ of Possession, which will be valid for 3 months. The application for this Writ is ex parte, and no notice is given. Once the plaintiff has this Writ, it will be sent to the Sheriff, who is then able to schedule the eviction of the former homeowners. The Sheriff will send the Writ to the former owners and once an eviction has been scheduled, a notice of the eviction date is sent to the property.
On the date of eviction, a Sheriff’s officer is sent to the property to physically secure it and remove any occupants who have not left. Typically, the plaintiff also schedules movers to remove any belonging left behind in the home on the day of eviction. These items are placed in storage, and can be claimed for a period of time after the eviction. Not surprisingly, the eviction itself is not a pleasant event, and for this reason, it is not advisable to simply ignore notices regarding eviction.
If a tenant is occupying property subject to foreclosure, he or she is entitled to additional protections afforded by the law, including the protections of the anti-eviction act. The buyer of a foreclosed property, or the plaintiff who takes possession after a sale, takes the property along with any occupying tenants in it. After a foreclosure sale, a notice has to be sent to tenants informing them of the new owner and informing them of their rights, including that they cannot be removed without “good cause” even if they don’t have a written lease. If a tenant occupying a property which has been foreclosed pays their rent and does not cause damage or disturbance, they generally cannot be evicted, unless the new owner wishes to occupy the property as his or her primary residence. An eviction attempt for tenants would have to go through the usual landlord-tenant court.
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