Foreclosure Filing Surcharge Bill Moving in New Jersey
in Political & Legislative
By: Chris Abeel, Vice President, Corporate & Governmental Affairs

As if foreclosures aren’t already costly enough here in New Jersey, buckle your seat belt because some lawmakers want to tack on an $800 surcharge for each filing, at least for the foreseeable future.

Legislation (A2036; S2344) has begun to move in Trenton to create a Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization Trust Fund.

The Fund would be used for “foreclosure prevention activities,” such as legal services to homeowners in danger of losing their home, mediation services, and training for non-governmental groups who assist homeowners in coping with a foreclosure. $10 million would be allocated to non-profit community groups annually to help them run and expand their foreclosure prevention programs.

Where will the money come from? You guessed it, mortgage lenders such as credit unions, through a ‘temporary’ $800 surcharge on each foreclosure complaint filed in the state. The surcharge would expire after five years or when annual foreclosure filings fall below 20,000.

I suppose this is on the theory that lenders had some hand in causing foreclosures, but more likely than not we’re both a convenient target and readily identifiable source of funds.

And you are an eternal optimist if you think this fee will truly be temporary.

The League has actively opposed this legislation and will continue to do so, but in an election year where all 120 seats in the legislature are up, I suspect the bill will find its way to the governor’s desk.