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General Assembly Passes Hurricane Ida Homeowner Mortgage Relief Bill

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats would bolster support for storm-impacted residents in their efforts to rebuild

(Trenton) – Legislation that would establish mortgage payment relief and foreclosure protection for certain homeowners impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed New Jersey’s General Assembly on Monday. Bill A2294, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and Assemblymen Roy Freiman and Chris Tully, would direct servicers to grant mortgage forbearance to storm-impacted homeowners.

In late summer 2021, Hurricane Ida brought torrential downpours and severe flooding to New Jersey, impacting homes, businesses and infrastructure across the state. The effects of Hurricane Ida displaced thousands of families, many of whom are still unable to return to their homes. During testimony before Assembly committees earlier this session, homeowners shared their experiences. They feared for the safety of their families and then were faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.

“Hurricane Ida ravaged New Jersey leaving catastrophic damage, especially for homeowners throughout the state. Although our response to house and assist victims was swift, there are still homeowners who need assistance,” said Assemblywoman Lopez (D-Middlesex). “This legislation will provide mortgage forbearance for the victims who are still in need of this critical protection.”

Under the bill, eligible homeowners would be required to submit a written request to their mortgage servicer affirming that they suffered a negative financial impact resulting from storm damage and obtained federal disaster assistance. They would also be required to affirm that they had a gross household income for 2022 that does not exceed 150 percent of the median income in their area, and they do not possess a bank account with more than six months’ reserves of the homeowner’s gross household income for 2021.

Upon meeting the necessary criteria, a homeowner would become eligible for a one-year mortgage forbearance. During the forbearance period fees, penalties, or interest would not be assessed or accrued, nor would the forbearance impact property tax and insurance obligations.

“The establishment of mortgage forbearance under Bill A2294 is a lifeline for storm-affected homeowners,” said Assemblyman Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset). “By making this relief accessible we strive to alleviate some of the financial burdens faced by families.”

The legislation also prohibits a mortgage servicer from furnishing negative mortgage payment information to a debt collector or credit-reporting agency while the mortgage is in forbearance.

“By requiring mortgage servicers to grant relief to eligible homeowners, we ensure that those who suffered losses receive the assistance they need to rebuild,” said Assemblyman Tully (D-Bergen). “Passing Bill A2294 showcases our commitment to providing protection and relief to those still grappling with the repercussions of Hurricane Ida.”