Murphy signs package of bills aimed at easing New Jersey foreclosure crisis

With bipartisan accord, N.J. lawmakers have crafted laws to help homeowners caught in the foreclosure crisis. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legislation into law. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

With bipartisan accord, N.J. lawmakers have crafted laws to help homeowners caught in the foreclosure crisis. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legislation into law. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy took aim Monday at a chronic problem that has plagued the Garden State for years: the foreclosure crisis.

The Democrat signed nine laws to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation foreclosure rate and speed up the often lengthy process of repossessing a home.

“These efforts, along with our other efforts to work with families to keep them in their homes, will help us move forward — and hopefully very soon — move steadily down the rankings of nationwide foreclosures,” Murphy said.

Under the laws, banks will have to complete foreclosures more quickly; the state will expand its mediation program, and foreclosed homes will go back on the market faster.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, D-Essex, said she hopes the new laws will help ease the burden on well-meaning homeowners caught in a bad situation.

“I’m thinking of someone very close to me who lost their house — after the recession, lost their job, lost their home — and they’re rebuilding their lives. But it’s very, very difficult,” she said.

The bills were written and passed through a largely bipartisan process, according to Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington.

“Every now and then, housing policy can become partisan. But I think each of us has recognized the grip of foreclosures and what they do to our communities — how they stagnate our economy and the true community way of life that we would all cherish,” Singleton said. “Everyone came together to find a solution to try and move this forward.”

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