In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed nine new laws that affect New Jersey foreclosures. The laws aim to help homeowners and reduce foreclosures. This article describes the law that relates to foreclosure mediation.
The foreclosure mediation program is a free court-sponsored program for residential homeowners who are in foreclosure. The program is designed to help find alternative outcomes to mortgage foreclosure.
A homeowner has up to 60 days after service of the foreclosure complaint to enter the program by filing the mediation request form with the court. The homeowner may have to work with a HUD-certified housing counseling agency (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) in order to submit the mediation request. For more information about this requirement, homeowners can contact the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency at 609-278-7508.
After 60 days, the homeowner can file papers with the court (a “motion”) to make a late request for mediation. If the mediation request is approved, the court will follow these steps:
Scheduling. The Superior Court Clerk’s Office will send a letter to all homeowners about the mediation, and then will schedule an “initial conference” (first meeting) between the parties within 45 days of the letter date.
Initial conference. The initial conference between the parties will be conducted by telephone or other electronic form. The homeowner and lender will share important financial information and paperwork within a certain quick time frame.
Second conference. If the homeowner and lender have more information to share or need more time, the court can schedule a second conference (second meeting) within 45 days of the initial conference.
- If the homeowner does not try his/her best to provide information and participate in the meetings, the mediation may be cancelled.
- If the lender does not review the homeowner’s financial information or does not attend the sessions, a judge will require the lender to explain the improper actions.
Mediation session. Within 30 days of the last conference, the Superior Court Clerk’s Office will schedule a mediation meeting at the courthouse. If the homeowner and lender cannot agree on a decision at the first mediation session, a second session can be scheduled within 15 days. If a third session is needed, the court has to be involved.
There are other requirements for homeowners to participate in mediation, which include having a financial interest in the property and other important items.
For more information about other important sections of the laws, click on one of the topics below.
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