TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Ronald L. Rice and Brian Stack which would allow municipalities to penalize creditors for building code violations for abandoned, foreclosed properties to which the creditor holds the deed was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 31-0.
“When a foreclosed home sits vacant within a community, it can become a magnet for criminal activity, and can deteriorate to cause an economic blight on the remaining homes within the community,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “When these abandoned homes fall into disrepair, the creditors who are legally responsible for those homes should step up, do the right thing, and maintain the home. If they fail to fix the homes up in a timely manner, municipal officials should have the ability to impose penalties.”
“With the rising number of foreclosed homes in New Jersey, we’ve seen cases where many of these homes aren’t kept up, and they create a blight on the rest of the municipality,” said Senator Stack, D-Hudson. “As a municipal official, I can attest to the high cost that vacant, foreclosed, and blighted properties have on municipal budgets, because there is an added expense for basic maintenance and police patrols. By requiring creditors who initiate the foreclosure proceedings to maintain these homes or face penalties, we’re putting the responsibility for maintenance where it belongs.”