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Legislation in New Jersey, Ohio Aimed at Expediting Lengthy Foreclosure Process

SenateThe state governments in both New Jersey and Ohio are taking aim at shortening the long, drawn out residential foreclosure process in their respective states.

Legislation in the New Jersey General Assembly aimed at significantly reducing the lengthy time it takes to complete a foreclosure on a residential property has been advanced by an Assembly panel, according to a press release.

The foreclosure process currently takes about three years on average in New Jersey from the time the notice of intention is filed until the sheriff's sale. The sponsor of the bill, Democrat Bob Andrzejczak, says the bill will reduce that time period down to about five months.

"South Jersey’s depressed housing market is just one consequence of lengthy foreclosure proceedings that have left some properties in disrepair," Andrzejczak said. "This legislation will help move the region toward increased home sales and an overall improved economic outlook."

Andrzejczak's bill (A-4075) is intended to supplement New Jersey's "Fair Foreclosure Act," and would allow residential properties to proceed to public auction when the foreclosure is uncontested.

States with lengthy foreclosure processes are looking to cut those timelines down in order to reduce the amount of blight that can arise when residential homes sit vacant for extended periods. Blight in residential neighborhoods can often lead to lower property values, vandalism, and even violent crime. A similar bill was re-introduced in the Ohio State House of Representatives last month by Cheryl Grossman, a Republican, and Michael Curtin, a Democrat.

Among other provisions, Ohio HB 134 allows the mortgagee to bring a summary foreclosure action against a vacant and abandoned residential property. The bill is intended to expedite the foreclosure process in Ohio, where the average time to complete a foreclosure is two to three years, and therefore reduce the amount of blight. The bill is currently in Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.

"I believe that these types of properties are a problem throughout our country with what we just went through with the economy," Grossman said earlier this year. "Rather than it being such a lengthy and drawn-out process, I feel very strongly we should do whatever we can do to expedite the process."

Grossman and Curtin introduced a similar bill in June 2013 that passed by a unanimous vote (93-0) in the Ohio House on April 2, and was introduced into the Ohio Senate five days later. Another eight months later, in December, the bill was killed suddenly just as the last general assembly was about to end a few days before Christmas.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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