Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
If you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure in New Jersey, the first thing you need to do is educate yourself about your rights. The foreclosure process can be tedious, but there may be worthwhile legal avenues you can pursue that could save your home from foreclosure or delay the process.
If you are able to delay the foreclosure process, you may be able to pay the debt or buy you time to find suitable housing arrangements. To determine your rights based on the specifics of your unique case, consult a local foreclosure defense attorney like David H. Kaplan.
What is a Foreclosure?
Foreclosure refers to the process by which a homeowner loses his/her rights to a property because of failing to pay the monthly mortgage payments. The bank will likely not start the foreclosure process until you have missed several payments, at which time you will be notified by certified mail.
Foreclosure Laws in NJ
The Fair Foreclosure Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56, has significantly changed the residential mortgage foreclosure practice. This act outlines the process in which a lender must proceed should they decide to foreclose on a home. From the time of initial notice to actual eviction the act outlines 16 steps. The following information must be included in the initial notification:
- A description of the lender’s interest in the property including notification that the lender has a mortgage on the property and the name and address of the lender.
- The reason that the lender is trying to foreclose on the property.
- Information about your right to rectify the default, and how to do so. Under the right to cure, if you pay the full amount owed, the mortgage lender must accept your payment and reinstate the mortgage; the lender cannot at this time charge attorneys’ fees or court costs.
- A statement of amount owed to cure the default and the deadline to pay to avoid foreclosure. The lender must give you at least 30 days to pay.
- An explanation as to what will happen if you do not cure the default.
- A statement that you may stop the foreclosure process even after the filing of the foreclosure complaint.
- A statement of your right to sell or transfer title to the property during the foreclosure process.
- A statement advising you of the importance of retaining an attorney along with the contact information for the county lawyer referral service and Legal Services.
- A list of available resources to help your satisfy the default along with contact information for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.
Foreclosure Legal Process
Foreclosure can be a lengthy process. Here is a brief description of the foreclosure process:
- Missed payments- A borrower may fail to make mortgage payments on time for a variety of reasons like hardships from medical challenges, death, divorce, or unemployment.
- Notice of Default- After several missed payments, the lender will notify you via certified mail of your delinquency.
- Pre-foreclosure-During this time the lender will file a complaint with the Superior Court. You will be given the opportunity to answer the complaint by either “curing” the default amount or contesting the complaint. If you admit (do not contest) that you defaulted on your loan your case will move to the Office of Foreclosure. If you contest the default your case will proceed to the General Equity Judge in your home county.
- Court Proceeding- Both the lender and the mortgagee will have an opportunity to explain their situation. If the court rules in favor of the lender your home will go to auction.
- Auction- Your home will go through Sheriff’s sale during which time it will be posted publicly for sale (for four weeks) for an amount to satisfy the loan.
Foreclosure Legal Rights
It is important that you understand your rights and options when facing a foreclosure in New Jersey. The law office of David Kaplan understands how stressful the process can be and will guide you through all of your options.
As a homeowner, you have several rights that you should take advantage of, if applicable:
- pay off your debt immediately and keep the home;
- contest the foreclosure in court;
- seek out loan modification in some cases;
- buy your home back within ten days of a foreclosure sale (this is called the right of redemption); and
- federal help if your lender does business with government-sponsored corporations.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation!