What is my responsibility if I leave my New Jersey house, that is in foreclosure.
As a result of the very lengthy real estate foreclosure action process in New Jersey, people are vacating their homes during the lawsuit. Prior to vacating their house, one should notify the mortgage company, their mortgage servicer, and the mortgage company’s attorneys, that they are vacating the house. The notice should be sent by certified mail, return receipt, letter to any and all of the mortgage company’s addresses and their attorney.
The homeowner should ensure that the inside of the property is secured by closing and locking all windows and doors. Additionally, one should close off all water lines to protect the house from water damage. Typically, the mortgage company will ask a representative to come to the house to confirm that the homeowner has vacated the property. Additionally, it is likely that the mortgage company will change the locks.
The people named on the deed continue to be the owners of the house, until after the house goes to sheriff’s sale. Prior to the sheriff’s sale, as the owner of the property, who is on the deed, the homeowner has certain responsibilities, including the maintenance of the property, pursuant to the local ordinances. As the owner of any property, one has a responsibility to properly maintain the grounds, etc. Each town has different laws that require the homeowner to care for their property in a specific manner. If the homeowner fails to comply with these laws, they may be fined accordingly. This is most likely not an issue, if a neighbor cares for the property, no one complains to the township, or the town does not strictly enforce such laws.
Typically, a homeowner continues to be liable to a person, whose injury was caused by the homeowner. In today’s litigious society, someone may argue that their injury was caused by the homeowner’s lack of maintenance of the property, etc. The liability insurance on the house should be maintained to protect themselves from such a lawsuit. However, securing liability insurance under these circumstances will likely be difficult and costly.
This blog is only a limited explanation of the homeowner’s responsibilities and should not be relied upon. Anyone in such a situation, should seek advice from a competent and experienced lawyer.
Robert Manchel, is a Lawyer in New Jersey that handles bankruptcy and foreclosure resolution. Mr Manchel may be contacted at 866 535 5655.