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Foreclosure information for New Jersey

While an individual may think of foreclosure as an action pertaining to failure to make payments on a mortgage, action can also be brought in connection with tax liens and with unpaid assessments to homeowner or condominium associations. Actions are filed in Trenton with the Office of the Superior Court Clerk.

Both judges and staff are involved in the process, handling foreclosure proceedings for both residential and commercial mortgages, tax-related actions, association liens, strict foreclosure designed as a remedy to errors in prior foreclosure action and Fair Foreclosure Act situations. The office makes recommendations for foreclosure judgments and also reviews complaints related to potential compliance violations. The office verifies that process has occurred according to guidelines. It also makes final reviews of uncontested foreclosures to verify that amounts are correct and that paperwork is complete.

In some cases, a dispute may arise. In these instances, the matter is forwarded to the relevant county for resolution by a General Equity Judge. Upon resolution of such disputes, actions are returned to the main foreclosure office to be treated as uncontested actions. It is important to understand that uncontested means that there is no dispute about the validity of a mortgage or about its priority, and there is no issue raised with regard to the right to foreclose. In some cases, a defendant may indicate a lack of sufficient knowledge, deferring to the plaintiff's proof in the action. In some cases, a successful foreclosure may result in the right of authorities to sell the property in question to raise funds to cover the debt owed. In other cases, an owner may be barred from using a property due to the funds owed.

An individual faced with possible foreclosure may want to discuss the situation with an attorney, particularly if there are disputed amounts. An attorney may provide direction for gathering documents and other evidence to support disputes over a lien.

Source: New Jersey Courts, "Foreclosure Overview", October 24, 2014

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