A Light at the End of the Foreclosure Tunnel
New Jersey has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the United States. Recently, however, Senator Menendez praised East Orange for their leading efforts to minimize the harm of “zombie foreclosures.”
Senator Menendez said, that in many cases, residents “don’t know their rights. They think they have to leave as soon as they get a foreclosure notice.” This leads to residents abandoning their homes and the creation of “zombie” homes. These abandoned homes are a serious problem that leads to decreased property values and threats to public health and safety; often, the properties attract drugs and illegal, dumping, for example.
Adding fuel to the fire, with the low housing prices in communities, “lenders have little incentive to complete foreclosures and begin paying for property upkeep and taxes. The banks don’t want to be stuck with broken-down, decrepit, vacant houses,” said Linda Fisher, a Seton Hall University Law Professor, who advised Menendez on the issue.
To rectify the situation, East Orange effectively utilized a 2014 law. The law allowed them to impose daily fines on foreclosing creditors who fail to maintain properties. With the law, they accrued over $1.2 million in fines and worked to stabilize abandoned properties. Additionally, because banks do not like to work with homeowners, East Orange officials have pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to sell more troubled mortgages to nonprofits that are more willing to work with homeowners.
Similar to East Orange, Senator Menendez is striving to increase the accountability of mortgage servicers through his bill, “Preventing Abandoned Foreclosures and Preserving Communities Act of 2016.” The bill would require servicers to inform borrowers that they are allowed to remain in their home until the completion of the foreclosure process or a sheriff sale. Additionally, the bill would require servicers to notify borrowers that they remain responsible for tax or other fees during the foreclosure.
Here at Fazzio Law Offices, we also strive to keep you informed, every step of the way. Unlike banks or servicers, we will work with you to achieve your goals. Whether you want to keep the property or sell, Fazzio Law Offices will aggressively advocate for your needs and guide you through the process. Please call us at (201)-529-8024 to set-up a free consultation with Mr. Fazzio, we are here to help!
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