Can I live in my house after a NJ sheriff sale?
We are asked the following questing by many New Jersey home owners facing eviction: “Can I still live in my house after a foreclosure?” The simple answer is, “Yes you can still live in your house after foreclosure.”
The next question usually is: “How long can I live in my house after a sheriff sale in NJ?”
The answer to that is “That it depends.” The long answer is that you can stay in the home up until the sheriff locks you out, which can take months or longer depending on what has happened after the sale.
In New Jersey, after someone has been foreclosed, there are two types of occupants in a home.
1. You have TENANTS who are they’re subject to a lease agreement. Whether it’s world or written, and;
2. Then you have the OWNERS that are there because they had possession of the property before the foreclosure. And, continued to maintain possession after the foreclosure was completed.
Each of these occupants have different rights and depending what type of occupant you may be your time line varies. We will cover this shortly.
How long does foreclosure take in New Jersey?
An uncontested New Jersey Foreclosure time can be as quick as 114 days or drag out for over a year if the attorneys for the lender drag their feet. In 2018, the time for New Jersey foreclosures dropped to an all time low. If anyone is telling you that it takes years for a NJ foreclosure to happen or that you have plenty of time, they are out of touch with reality. See this press release by the New Jersey Judiciary. If you contest the foreclosure, or declare bankruptcy, you may be able to stop the foreclosure all together to save your home.
Whether a defendant in a foreclosure fights or not there are certain deadlines that have to be met before action by the Plaintiff can be taken to move a foreclosure along. For instance, a defendant has 35 days to file an answer to the foreclosure complaint before a default can be entered. This is an opportunity for the defendant to get additional time while fighting the foreclosure. If a default is entered, the plaintiff then must wait 45 days before applying for final judgment. The court will then issue final judgement. A writ of execution will be delivered to the Sheriff to begin the foreclosure sale process. The borrower must be given at least 10 days notice before the foreclosure sale can take place, and the notice must be published. In rare cases, a special master may be used to sell the property. And, once the sheriff save is scheduled, the borrower can ask for the sale to be adjourned up to 56 days. This time line is different than a tax lien foreclosure.
Lets use an eviction after a mortgage foreclosure sale as an example for how long someone can live in their home after a foreclosure.
You can have two types of buyers that can buy the property.
1. The bank/lender buys the property as no one bid high enough to became the winner of the property at auction and the bank would rather sell it themselves outside of the foreclosure auction, or;
2. A third party purchaser that purchases the property. Either way both of them have to get possession. They can do this in one of two ways. The judges in the state I believe have conferenced on this and they’re trying to make the ejection process more uniform across the state of New Jersey.
How long can I live in home after a NJ foreclosure sale?
When the sheriff auctioned off the property. Their is at least a 10 day waiting period before the deed can be delivered. And if it is a third party purchaser, then the deed cannot be delivered until the property has been paid off. In this 10 day period the homeowner can redeem the property, or file bankruptcy to extend the 10 day period to 60 days. There are many ways to fight a foreclosure in NJ. Once the deed has been delivered, the eviction/ejectment action can start by the new owner. The sheriff has to follow the NJ laws for sheriff to auction off property.
Depending on which Vicinage you may have the bank exercising one of the ways to remove someone from the property using the special civil way such as a Summary Dispossess Action. A lot of times you’ll see in the foreclosure action of motion for possession which is the actual foreclosure action itself. After the motion of possession is filed and granted you’ll see a writ of ejection. The writ of ejection then permits the purchaser to have the sheriff have you removed. This can take several months. In this time you are still allowed to live in the home that has been auctioned off.
The other way to do remove a former home owner, which has been done in counties like Hudson and Essex is going through the Special Civil Division. Doing what is called an ejectment action. It’s not a landlord-tenant action; it’s an ejectment action.
It’s in order to show cause that basically tells the court:
- You know I am the owner,
- I purchased the property at sheriff auction
- You are not the owners any more, but you used to be the owner,
- You are not tenants,
- There’s no lease agreement, and;
- You are there without permission.
As the former owner you are supposed to leave once that’s presented to the court and then served on you. However, if you choose to stay, then the process will continue with the court. There will be a return date for a court hearing. At the return date there’ll be a judgment entered for possession. There are rare defenses in this situation. Then, similarly, a writ will be issued to the sheriff. The sheriff will be given the writ. There’s a filing fee involved. The sheriff will schedule the lockout date. If you do not leave, then the sheriff will come and lock you out. So those are the two ways that you can those are the two ways that banks or purchasers can remove people, but in the meantime you can you stay in your home.
You can stay until possession is no longer yours up until the sheriff locks you out of the property. There are ways to get additional time and possession. Like, contacting the purchaser and asking for a cash for keys arrangement. As a tenant your rights continue under the lease. However, if the purchaser wants to occupy your unit personally, then you may be evicted. Also, you cannot have a fraudulent lease that will be upheld by the court. You cannot lease the property to let say your aunt for $500 a month for 5 years when the property would rent for $2000 a month. As a tenant you have rights, as the former owner many of your rights have been extinguished, and as a new owner they have rights. Everyone has equitable rights in this situation and the courts will enforce these rights.
If you know that the sale time is running out but it’s not yet run out you still have options. If you want to talk to a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer who understands eviction call 973-200-1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org