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

Pennsylvania Woman Cops Plea To Pocketing Refinance Proceeds After Forging Legal Documents On Property Owned By Estranged Hubby, Mother In Law

In Norristown, Pennsylvania, The Times Herald reports:
  • A 41-year-old Conshohocken woman pleaded guilty to forging her estranged husband and mother-in-law’s names on mortgage applications and other legal documents. Andrea Lamazza took out three separate mortgages worth a total of $446,350 between 2002 and 2005 without the knowledge of her husband, Kenneth Lamazza, and his mother, Sarah Lamazza, according to court papers. The defendant has also added her name to the deed of a house her husband and mother-in-law owned, and illegally executed power of attorney to refinance real estate, according to authorities.

For more, see Woman admits to mortgage fraud.

Go here, Go here, Go here, go here, go here, and go here for other posts related to deed or refinancing scams by forgery, swindle, etc. DeedGammaTheft

Rochester Landlord Accused Of Stiffing City, Tenants

In Rochester, New York, WHEC-TV Channel 10 reports:
  • The city of Rochester is facing a $32-million dollar shortfall this year but I-Team 10 has discovered one way the city could shave half a million from that number. If one of the landlords in the city would pay his taxes that money could aid the shortfall.

***

  • But not only does [the landlord] owe the city money, he owes many of the people who rented from him as well. There are more than a dozen judgments in small claims court, many from former tenants who say he has refused to return their security deposits.

For more, see I-Team 10 investigation: Landlord tardy on taxes and tenants' security deposits.

Florida Man Fearing Foreclosure Arrested For Operating Indoor Pot Farm In His Home

Buried at the end of an unrelated story in Florida Today is this blurb about an apparently financially strapped Palm Bay, Florida homeowner:
  • [L]ast week, a recently laid-off delivery man was arrested on cultivation charges after police discovered 57 small marijuana plants in his home. The man told police he was refitting his house to grow marijuana to stay out of foreclosure.(1)

Source: Police: Pot plants found in teen's bedroom.

(1) A less risky way to deal with his mortgage lender to avoid losing his home may have simply been to go to court and Fight Foreclosure: Make ‘Em Produce The Note! "Foreclosure mill" attorneys representing lenders appear to be fumbling around with the paperwork required to be filed in court when bringing foreclosure actions in many cases. KappaMtgDocsMissing

Elderly Texas Woman's Home Accidentally Sold Out From Under Her; Bank Admits, Straightens Out Error

In North Texas, WFAA-TV reports on an 88-year old woman behind on her mortgage payments and threatened with foreclosure. With the help of her son, she was able to obtain a payment plan with the lender, Wahington Mutual/Chase, back in December. Despite the arrangement, the lender allowed the home to be sold at a foreclosure sale anyway, albeit accidentally. The woman found out about the sale when the new buyer appeared at her front door and introduced himself. Reportedly, the bank's attorney advised the homeowner that the sale proceeded in error, that he sent the new buyer his money back, and that she'll get to keep her house.(1)

For the report, see Home of woman, 88, mistakenly sold at foreclosure auction.

Go here for other posts on lender screw ups.

(1) This story serves as a reminder that, even if a homeowner facing foreclosure is lucky enough to reach a payment arrangement with a lender, the homeowner still has to assure him/herself, through the court system and by obtaining confirmation from the lender's local foreclosure attorney, that the foreclosure action has either been cancelled, or at least been placed in abeyance pending the successful completion of the payment arrangement. At 88 years of age, this lady could have literally been "buried" by a surprise like this. ForeclosureLockOuts