However, for those living in New Jersey, are paying their rents on time and follow the appropriate lease agreement, those rights do not end with foreclosure. In fact, the lender or bank that owns the property has just become the renters new landlord. In the Vineland Daily Journal, NJ's Public Advocate Ronald K. Chen penned an article titled Tenants living in foreclosed properties have rights, too. Lets take a look -
At the Department of the Public Advocate, we have learned that tenants who rent properties that are subject to foreclosure are being kicked out of their homes when the bank takes over the property.
Make no mistake: this practice is almost always illegal in New Jersey.
In 1994, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act protects most tenants from eviction even when the property where they live is in foreclosure or has been foreclosed.
In other words, under New Jersey law, a tenant in good standing comes with the property when the property changes hands because of a foreclosure.
Despite these legal protections, I have recently seen copies of notices and letters sent to tenants that imply, or state outright, that they must leave because of a pending or completed foreclosure. These notices warn that the locks will soon be changed, or that the tenants' possessions may be removed. Universally, the notices demand that the tenants make immediate contact with the lender's representative to discuss possible relocation assistance or eligibility for a "cash for keys" program -- all predicated on the tenants' vacating within a very short time frame.
A number is provided for the Public Advocates Office of Citizen Relations - 609-826-5070 - to call if a renter is being forced from their property. Lets try to keep foreclosure's forgotten victims to a minimum!