In certain states, a foreclosure can take a very long time to be completed -- the timeline in New Jersey is well over two years on average, the second-longest timeline in the country. However, New Jersey has streamlined the process for abandoned properties, making the foreclosure completion time much shorter.
Read on to learn more about how a foreclosure can be expedited for abandoned homes in New Jersey and why this could have a beneficial effect for lenders, borrowers, and neighborhoods alike.
(For more articles on foreclosure procedures in New Jersey and assistance for struggling New Jersey homeowners, visit our New Jersey Foreclosure Law Center.)
New Jersey foreclosures take an exceptionally long time, about 1,000 days on average, to complete. However, on December 3, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Senate Bill 2156, which allows a lender to speed up uncontested foreclosures if they can prove the property is vacant and abandoned, reducing the time for foreclosure to around 60 days.
To get a reduced timeline, the law requires that the lender present clear and convincing evidence that the real estate is vacant and abandoned. Specifically, the lender must show that the property is not occupied by the borrower (or other lawful tenant) and that two or more of the following conditions exist.
In New Jersey, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in state court. (Learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court?)
(To learn about the specific foreclosure procedures in New Jersey, see our article New Jersey Foreclosure Procedures.)
To fast-track a foreclosure on a property that is vacant and abandoned, the lender can:
When properties are abandoned, a lengthy foreclosure process ultimately harms the neighborhood. Vacant homes quickly start to show obvious signs of neglect. The lawn doesn’t get cut, litter begins to pile up, and the home often falls into disrepair. Abandoned homes are also susceptible to vandalism, squatters, and crime. This drags down the value of the property itself, as well as of the entire neighborhood.
Speeding up the foreclosure process for abandoned properties:
This law is designed to help stabilize the residential real estate market by reducing the time it takes to complete a foreclosure, thereby returning the property to an occupied status more quickly.
Homeowners won't become the victim of a zombie foreclosure if the lender completes the process promptly. (To learn more about zombie foreclosures and the harmful effects they can have on homeowners, see Zombie Foreclosures.)
To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in New Jersey, see New Jersey Foreclosure Procedures.