Governor Signs Houghtaling Bill Extending Foreclosure Protections for Sandy Victims

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - For homeowners impacted by Superstorm Sandy, a new law will extend foreclosure protections and mortgage relief programs for an additional three years.

“As of the sixth anniversary of Sandy last October, about 1,200 New Jersey families had not finished rebuilding,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune), a sponsor of the bill. “Hurricane Sandy was devastating for New Jersey, and the road to recovery has been far from smooth for too many residents. More than 150 people have been charged with fraud related to Sandy relief, and the scams have thus far cost hundreds of storm victims more than $20 million. While we cannot change how victims were treated by contractors in the past, we can ensure they have the time they need to find qualified workers to rebuild their homes.”

Under this legislation (A-5096), a foreclosure protection program that was previously slated to end on July 1, 2019 will now extend until July 1, 2022, giving struggling homeowners additional time to get back on their feet. The original law, enacted in 2017, provided impacted homeowners with mortgage forbearance and foreclosure proceeding stay protections intended to help Shore residents return home after the damage inflicted by Sandy in 2012.

Some victims continue to fight with their insurance companies over settlements that did not cover the cost of rebuilding. With the original deadline approaching this July 1, victims were beginning to receive letters from banks telling them they must resume mortgage payments.

“By extending these programs, we can allow homeowners to start rebuilding without fearing foreclosure or fraud,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), a co-sponsor of the bill. “It’s time to take the side of Sandy victims, and make sure that they have the support they need to finally return home.”


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