City officials are considering a new measure that would force banks to appoint an in-state agent to ensure the upkeep of homes that are undergoing foreclosure.
The ordinance, which is before the city council, is an expansion of mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ neighborhood stabilization plan, which grants the city the power to commence summary proceedings in New Jersey Superior Court to take over abandoned properties.
The new measure, enabled by a 2014 state law, places the onus on banks to “assume the responsibility for the care, maintenance, security, and upkeep of the exterior of an abandoned property,” reads the ordinance.
“In many cases the creditors of abandoned properties, neglect the property, fail to maintain or secure the property to adequate standards,” recognizes the ordinance.
The banks will be required to notify the city clerk’s office within 10 days of filing a foreclosure action in court, according to the ordinance. In that notice, the creditor, is required to appoint a local in-state agent to whom the city will be able to direct notices and violation.
Banks failing to properly secure and maintain their properties will face fines of $1,500 per day so long as the issues remains unaddressed, according to the ordinance. The fine is $2,500 if the bank fails to appoint an in-state agent to manage the property to ensure it is safe and properly kept.
The city council is set to consider the measure for preliminary approval tonight.