(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) that would empower municipalities to take action against creditors who fail to maintain vacant properties that are slated for foreclosure was approved Thursday by an Assembly committee.
“Vacant properties are neighborhood eyesores. They are unsightly, attract pests and criminal activity and drag down property values. This is not fair to surrounding property owners who must suffer the consequences despite taking care of their own properties,” said Prieto. “This bill enables municipalities to take action against creditors who create nuisance situations for neighborhoods and municipalities by failing to maintain vacant properties that are set for foreclosure.”
The bill (A-3072) permits a governing body of any municipality to make, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances to regulate the care, maintenance and upkeep of vacant residential properties on which a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose has been filed.
The bill provides that a creditor found to be in violation of any ordinance, rule or regulation adopted pursuant the bill’s provisions is subject to a fine of $2,500 for each day of the violation. The bill requires that no less than 20 percent of any money collected must be utilized by the municipality for municipal code enforcement purposes. The bill also requires out-of-state creditors who have served a summons and complaint in an action to foreclose on a residential property to designate an in-state person or entity responsible for the care, maintenance and up-keep of the property.
The bill was released by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.