Future of Foreclosures in N.J. Hinges on State Supreme Court Decision
In the nearly five months since the state Supreme Court effectively allowed six of the country’s biggest banks to begin filing foreclosures again, attorneys and court officials have been expecting a flood of new filings to hit the courts.
Except it hasn’t happened. Foreclosure filings are down 83 percent as of October this year, compared with the same time period last year, according to court figures, and there are at least 100,000 cases either pending in the system or waiting to be submitted.
Attorneys involved in the work in New Jersey point to at least one reason for the significant delay: a court case that has reached the state Supreme Court, with oral arguments on Wednesday.
The case, US Bank National Association v. Guillaume, is important because the court is asked to determine who must be named as a point of contact on the document that initiates the foreclosure process, known as the Notice of Intent to Foreclose. The state Fair Foreclosure Act requires identifying the lender and its contact information. But because the original lender has often bundled and sold the loans to investors, the current lender lists the servicer, a third party that collects monthly payments and dispurses it to the mortgage holder. In this situation, the lender’s attorney argued it was unnecessary to name his client on the notice because the servicer had been assigned the mortgage rights.