N.J. Assemblyman Gary Schaer urges Gov. Christie to sign bill protecting New Jerseyans from foreclosure-related fraud | Economy | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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N.J. Assemblyman Gary Schaer urges Gov. Christie to sign bill protecting New Jerseyans from foreclosure-related fraud

schaerGARY072110_optProposal has support of state Dept. of Banking and Insurance

In light of a state Superior Court ruling that allows many of the state’s biggest mortgage lenders to continue with foreclosure proceedings, Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic) on Wednesday urged Gov. Chris Christie to sign legislation designed to protect beleaguered homeowners from predatory foreclosure consultants.

Among other licensing requirements, the bill Schaer sponsored stipulates that homeowners must receive at least 82 percent of fair market value, a necessary protection as some property owners have received pennies on the dollar for their distressed property, if anything at all.

Similar legislation was signed into law in Minnesota and Illinois by Republican and Democratic governors, respectively. Schaer said the Republican Texas attorney general also supports similar legislation that includes the 82 percent provision.

The generally accepted percentage banks try to recoup in a short-sale is 82 percent. Schaer believes that vulnerable homeowners should receive the same remuneration as the big banks.

“We need to do everything in our power to ensure that families who can afford to stay in their homes are given a fighting chance, absent any questionable or predatory practices. It is in everyone’s best interest for the governor to sign this measure into law as quickly as possible,” Schaer said. “New Jersey continues to be the ‘Wild West’ of foreclosure consulting. Hair stylists are required to undergo more government scrutiny than foreclosure consultants.”

The measure (A-359), known as the “Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act” is designed to protect New Jersey homeowners from foreclosure rescue scams. The bill, which received final legislative approval on June 29, passed both houses unanimously and was sent to Christie for consideration. The proposal has the support of the state Department of Banking and Insurance, the New Jersey Bankers Association, the New Jersey Realtors Association, the New Jersey Land Title Association, New Jersey Citizen Action and New Jersey Legal Services.

Kevin Roberts, Christie's assistant press secretary, said, "As with all pieces of pending legislation, it is receiving the careful review of our counsel’s office prior to the governor taking action."

In December, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ruled that six of the state’s biggest lenders had to demonstrate that they were treating homeowners fairly during foreclosure proceedings. The order slowed filings in the first half of this year to a near halt in comparison to 2010.

On Monday, a state Superior Court judge issued a ruling that allows Bank of America, Citibank, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo to once again proceed with filings.

—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 

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