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Assembly Bill Tackling Mortgage Discrimination and Foreclosure Practices in New Jersey Advances in Assembly

Bill Sponsored by Assembly members Mosquera, Wimberly & Mukherji

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gabriela Mosquera, Benjie Wimberly and Raj Mukherji that would address concerns of mortgage discrimination and foreclosure practices by prohibiting discrimination based on familial status advanced in the Assembly Monday.

The bill (A-401) prohibits depository institutions that make mortgage loans in this state from discriminating against any person in making available a mortgage loan, or in the terms or conditions of a mortgage loan, because of the person’s familial status. It also would allow anyone discriminated against in violation of the bill to bring action in New Jersey in a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon finding that a depository institution is in violation, the court would be permitted to award actual damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs.

The bill defines “familial status” as being the natural parent of a child, the adoptive parent of a child, the resource family parent of a child, having a “parent and child relationship” with a child as defined by state law, or having sole or joint legal or physical custody, care, guardianship, or visitation with a child, or any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18.

“No one should be denied or delayed loans because of their familial status,” said Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester).”As long as the candidate is qualified for the loan, whether or not they have children or are on maternity leave or expanding their families, should not be considered as part of the loan application process.”

“The goal here is to prevent discrimination in the mortgage loan process against individuals who may have income inconsistencies due to changes in their family dynamic,” said Wimberly
(D-Bergen, Passaic). “Their familial status should not be held against them, and this information should absolutely not be a requirement for a mortgage loan.”

“When a potential homeowner has taken the necessary steps toward homeownership, such as a saving for a down payment and establishing favorable credit, they shouldn’t hit a roadblock because of their familial status,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson).

The bill was advanced by the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. It will now go to the full Assembly for further consideration.