Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bob Andrzejczak, Vince Mazzeo, Pamela Lampitt, Benjie Wimberly, Eliana Pintor Marin and Joann Downey to allow members of the military to defer mortgage loan payments temporarily while they are deployed on active duty was released from a Senate committee on Thursday.
The bill (A-766) would allow a New Jersey resident called to active duty as a reservist or a member of the National Guard to request a suspension of the payment of the interest and principal on a mortgage loan that he or she secured before entering federal active duty. The deferment would remain in effect while the person remains in service on active duty and for 60 days after his or her release from active duty.
“Our military men and women are our first line of defense in the fight to protect freedom around the world,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), an Army veteran who served in Iraq. “This legislation removes a burden many soldiers face when deployed – mounting mortgage payments – which can potentially lead to financial problems for them when they return.”
“It’s unconscionable that men and women who risk their lives for this nation can come back and have nowhere to call home,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “If these homeowners have a brief reprieve on the mortgage, hopefully we can reduce their risk of losing their houses.”
To apply, a person would submit to the mortgagee a written request that includes a copy of his or her military orders or an affidavit stating that the he or she is in service on federal active duty, as well as a contact person for the mortgage loan while the member of the military is in service.
The bill would only apply to a mortgage securing a primary residence.
“Ending veteran homelessness must be a priority for our state and for our entire nation,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “By giving veterans a temporary break on their mortgage payments, New Jersey can do its part to make sure that those who protect our freedom can keep a roof over their heads.”
“When our veterans return from war, their immediate focus should be on settling back into their homes, not worrying about how to pay for them,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This bill will help alleviate some of the stress that comes with transitioning back into civilian life.”
“After being away from their loved ones and risking their lives for the sake of this nation’s freedom and security, the very least our veterans deserve is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their homes won’t be at risk of foreclosure,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex).
“No one who risks his or her life for the freedom of the United States of America should come back and worry about losing a home,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “This bill acknowledges veterans’ reasonable need for sufficient time to get things in order once they return.”
The measure, which gained unanimous approval from the Assembly in February, was advanced by the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.