Over the last several years, foreclosure actions have ground to a virtual halt in New Jersey because of issues with the paperwork presented by lenders as they sought to repossess homes. But now, efforts to stop foreclosure may ramp up after a decision was handed down by the state Supreme Court in a 5-0 ruling on Feb. 27.
The foreclosure locomotive in New Jersey appears set to pick up steam once again. The process was slowed considerably over the last two years because of an investigation by the state attorney general's office into allegations of fraud in the home repossession legal process.
Homeowners who faced foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 may be eligible for a review to determine if their foreclosure was unlawful or if they were charged with excessive fees. More than 4 million foreclosure cases nationwide could be eligible for this review.
The good news is that foreclosure filings in New Jersey dropped by a whopping 73 percent in 2011. While some may see that as evidence of an improving economy, others say it is simply the calm before the storm. Much of the statistical findings about this debt struggle revolve around what is described as a dysfunctional foreclosure process, with lenders relying on improper and sometimes even falsified documentation to repossess property. Those issues have had greater effects in states, like New Jersey, that rely upon the courts for resolution of mortgage disputes. That has led to delays throughout the state to the point where the average foreclosure takes about two and a half years to complete.
There are a lot of reports out there on the housing market and it appears that the foreclosure crisis is subsiding, but some experts feel that there are other factors that need to be considered that are still affecting the housing market.
As New Jersey residents know, a poor economy often leads people into financial turmoil. In the most recent recession, many people lost their jobs. Not only that, but the housing market struggled as well. Both of these factors can force many people into serious debt.
Now that 2011 has come to a close and 2012 is in full swing, many people are taking the time to reflect on the past year and the lessons they learned. Although most of us may think about things like hitting the gym more often or eating more veggies, a recent article from the Star-Ledger offered up a composition of consumer complaints that many New Jersey residents can learn from. The most common issues, it turns out, were rooted in economic troubles.
In recent months, the rate of foreclosure across the country slowed significantly after major lenders were accused of "robo-signing" foreclosure documents. After the process was adjusted, the backlog of foreclosure cases surpassed four million, increasing the process significantly. While New Jersey homeowners are still experiencing an average wait time of 984 days, it appears the wave of foreclosures will surge once again.
New Jersey residents around Upper Pittsgrove Township may soon see the old Gulf gas station at Pole Tavern Circle up on the auction block. Over the years, the property has racked up more than $100,000 in back tax debt, and the local Township Committee is seeking to foreclose. The property was scheduled for auction at the Dec. 13 meeting of the Township Committee.According to tax records, the owner of the Gulf Station is based out of Wilmington, Delaware. Officials say the property currently owes $60,000 in actual back taxes and at least another $40,000 in interest and penalties. The owner has not made tax payments on the property in more than five years, and the mayor said efforts to garnish the unpaid taxes were unsuccessful. This failure is what led to the foreclosure action.
A 78-year-old attorney from Cliffside Park, New Jersey, is suing a salesman and TD Bank, claiming fraud. He claims that a bad investment has left him in danger of losing his home to foreclosure. Convinced by the salesman that the investment was foolproof, he took out a loan in order to participate, and it wasn't until after the fact that the man discovered the salesman is a convicted scam artist who is now serving time in federal prison on an unrelated fraud conviction.