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eviction, foreclosure, foreclosure defense, NJ foreclosure

Can the Bank Lock Me Out of My Home Before Sheriff's Sale?

On Behalf of Veitengruber Law | Dec 16,2021

NOTE: It is illegal for the bank or any lender to lock you out of your home during an ongoing foreclosure. As the homeowner, it is your right to stay in your home until it is sold at a Sheriff’s Sale and is officially foreclosed. In New Jersey, this means the bank must file a lawsuit to foreclose with the courts and go through the entire legal process. Only at that point does the bank have any legal right to evict you.

If you are not living at the property at the time foreclosure begins, it is within the bank’s rights to “secure” the property. The bank may hire a property preservation company to make sure the property is protected and maintained. This can include making repairs on the property, winterizing it, replacing or boarding up doors and windows, removing garbage, draining the pipes, turning off utilities to the property, correcting any code violations, and even changing the locks on the doors. Doing so prevents theft, squatters, property damage, and blight.

Unfortunately, sometimes these property preservation companies abuse their powers and start making changes to a home that is still occupied or actually inflict damage to a homeowner’s property. While there are some laws to prevent this from happening, it is an all too common occurrence that you need to protect yourself from.

You can avoid this by informing your loan servicer that you are still occupying the property. Make mention of this during your communications with the company and ensure that it appears on their records. Should the loan servicer still treat your property as vacant and begin taking steps to secure the property, you need to protect your rights. We can help you send written notice(s) of the offense to your lender and indicate that you are still occupying the property. If a property preservation company is already involved, we will notify them as well.

If you have been wrongfully removed from your property or your loan servicer is taking steps in that direction, Veitengruber Law can help you protect your rights. Predatory property preservation companies cannot damage your property or evict you illegally. You are entitled to remain in your home until it has officially sold.

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