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Spearman, Speight & Quijano Bill to Help Towns Address “Zombie” Properties Now Law

(TRENTON) – New Jersey had the second highest number of “zombie” foreclosures in the nation only two years ago. Assembly Democrats William Spearman (D-Camden, Gloucester), Shanique Speight (D-Essex) and Annette Quijano (D-Union) issued the following statement Monday after the signing of their legislation (A-4999) requiring a creditor that institutes a foreclosure proceeding on residential property to provide contact information of a person deemed responsible for care of the property with the summons and complaint in Superior Court, and with the lis pendens filed with the office of the county clerk or register of deeds and mortgages:

“Our state ranked second in the nation for most ‘zombie’ foreclosures. New Jersey communities, especially in cities like Camden and Newark, are plagued with the presence of abandoned properties–some having been around for a decade or more. These properties pose health and public safety risks for residents as well as drive down property values. Many of these properties remain in disrepair due to the lack of information found on owners or creditors after foreclosure proceedings.
“By requiring creditors to provide a contact person for the property, local officials will know to whom they should address complaints about property maintenance and code violations. Asking, simply, for a name and number can help municipalities fight blight in their communities and protect homeowners still living in the neighborhoods with these ‘zombie’ properties.’ “