SENATE, No. 369

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  RICHARD J. CODEY

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Beck

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires certification of diligent inquiry in residential mortgage foreclosure actions to be filed by attorneys.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning residential mortgage foreclosures and supplementing P.L.1995, c.244 (C.2A:50-53 et seq.). 

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  In addition to any other requirements under law, regulation or court rule, in all residential mortgage foreclosure actions, an attorney filing a foreclosure complaint shall include a certification of diligent inquiry.  The certification of diligent inquiry shall certify:

     (1)   that the attorney has communicated with an employee or employees of the plaintiff who: (a) personally reviewed the documents being submitted to support the complaint; and (b) confirmed the accuracy of the documents;

     (2)   the names and titles, and the responsibilities in those titles, of the plaintiff’s employees with whom the attorney communicated pursuant to paragraph (1) of this section;

     (3)   that the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case and that, based on the information received pursuant to this section and the attorney’s review of the pertinent documents, to the best of the attorney’s knowledge, information and belief there is a reasonable basis for the commencement of the action and that the plaintiff is currently the residential mortgage lender entitled to enforce rights under those documents; and

     (4)   that the attorney is aware that the failure to comply with the provisions of this section may result in the penalties provided for in subsection b. of this section or, where the failure constitutes a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, may include sanctions imposed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. 

     b.    If the court finds that the plaintiff has failed to comply with the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the court may dismiss the complaint, with or without prejudice, or deny the accrual of any interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other fees relating to the mortgage debt. 

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to mortgage foreclosure actions filed on or after the effective date. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill supplements the “Fair Foreclosure Act,” P.L.1995, c.244 (C.2A:50-53 et seq.) by codifying aspects of New Jersey Court Rule 4:64-1 regarding certifications of diligent inquiry.  Specifically, the bill provides that, in addition to any other requirements under law, regulation or court rule, in all residential mortgage foreclosure actions, an attorney filing a foreclosure complaint shall include a certification of diligent inquiry.               The certification of diligent inquiry shall certify:

     (1)   that the attorney has communicated with an employee or employees of the plaintiff who: (a) personally reviewed the documents being submitted to support the complaint; and (b) confirmed the accuracy of the documents;

     (2)   the names and titles, and the responsibilities in those titles, of the plaintiff’s employees with whom the attorney communicated;

     (3)   that the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, and supporting documents, and to the best of the attorney’s knowledge, information and belief there is a reasonable basis for the commencement of the action and that the plaintiff is currently the creditor entitled to enforce rights under the documents; and

     (4)   that the attorney is aware that the failure to comply with the provisions of the bill may result in the penalties provided for in the bill or, where the failure constitutes a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, may include sanctions imposed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

     The bill also stipulates that the court may, if it finds that the plaintiff has failed to comply with the provisions of the bill, dismiss the complaint or deny the accrual of any interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other fees relating to the mortgage debt.