The Brick Township council has introduced a new ordinance that would require creditors to register properties under foreclosure with the municipal government and properly maintain.
At a number of public meetings since the mortgage crisis of 2008, homeowners have complained that neighboring residences on their streets have been left in disrepair and not properly maintained by banks. In some cases, the township has had to send its own parks or public works crews to mow lawns and trim back overgrown brush.
The ordinance would require banks to take a number of actions, including serving the township clerk’s office with a notice indicating that a foreclosure summons and complaint was served against a property owner in town. Within 30 days of serving the property owner, a bank would be required to provide to the township a second document outlining an in-state representative who would be responsible for the care and maintenance of the property, whether the property being foreclosed on falls under the state’s affordable housing law, the street address, lot and block number of the property, and the full name and address of a part within the state that is able to accept legal notices on the bank’s behalf.
If the home is abandoned or is considered a nuisance, the ordinance says, the creditor would have the responsibility of maintaining the property or abating the nuisance.
The township would have the right to charge for any repairs or maintenance it completes to a property, as it already does, but the ordinance gives the municipal government more teeth. A bank that does not maintain a foreclosed property would be subject to $1,500 per day fines as long a care, upkeep or maintenance violation persists after it is not repaired within a 30 day period – or a 10 day period if there is an imminent public health threat.
Banks that do not register foreclosed properties in the first place would be subject to $2,500 per day fines.
Council President Susan Lydecker said the new ordinance, if passed on final reading, would bring the township in line with current state laws on how municipalities can handle foreclosure situations.
A public hearing and final vote on the ordinance will be held at the Nov. 25 council meeting.