Sunday, February 08, 2009

Foreclosure Eviction Of Residential Tenants "Almost Always Illegal In New Jersey," Says State Public Advocate

In Trenton, New Jersey, Ronald K. Chen, the Public Advocate for the State of New Jersey reminds state residents of the rights of tenants in foreclosed residential property in New Jersey. He writes in the Asbury Park Press:
  • [A]t the Department of the Public Advocate, we have learned that tenants who rent properties that are subject to foreclosure are being kicked out of their homes when the bank takes over the property.

  • Make no mistake: This practice is almost always illegal in New Jersey. In 1994, the New Jersey Supreme Court(1) held that the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act protects most tenants from eviction even when the property where they live is in foreclosure or has been foreclosed. In other words, under New Jersey law, a tenant in good standing comes with the property when the property changes hands because of a foreclosure.

  • Moreover, the Unlawful Eviction Act of 2006 makes it an offense under the criminal justice code for a person who has been forewarned by a public official even to attempt to evict a tenant except by lawful court proceedings.

For more, see CHEN: Tenants cannot be forced out in foreclosures.

For more from the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, see:

(1) Chase Manhattan Bank v. Josephson, 135 N.J. 209 (1994).

The breadth of the tenant protections in the New Jersey state law was demonstrated in a 2007 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court. In that case, the state high court, in reversing a ruling of the state appeals court, ruled that a daughter of a deceased Section 8 tenant was entitled to the protections of New Jersey's Anti-Eviction Act, N.J.S.A. §§ 2A:18-61.1 to -61.12, as she was a functional co-tenant, showed continuous residency, and was a substantial contributor toward satisfaction of the tenancy's financial obligations, which the landlord acknowledged and acquiesced. Note that the daughter was not actually named as a tenant on the lease. Maglies v. Estate of Guy, 193 N.J. 108; 936 A.2d 414; 2007 N.J. LEXIS 1436 (2007).

For a discussion of the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act, see Legal Services of New Jersey's Amicus Brief filed in Maglies v. Estate of Guy. SkimmingKappaRent

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