NJ lawmaker moves to protect homeowners still left in the lurch after Sandy

 Sen. Jennifer Beck's legislation would require New Jersey to pay if an applicant closed on a Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation grant, then was told later that the state made a mistake and federal rules don't allow the grant. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Sen. Jennifer Beck's legislation would require New Jersey to pay if an applicant closed on a Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation grant, then was told later that the state made a mistake and federal rules don't allow the grant. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to avoid problems for the nearly 47,000 homeowners still going though the REMM grant program to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy.

Sen. Jennifer Beck’s legislation would require the state to pay if an applicant closed on a Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation grant and was told later that the state made a mistake and federal rules don’t allow the grant.

“If you’ve been vetted and the state awarded you a grant, and you signed a promissory note after all that time, and we screwed up and somehow we did something wrong with the paperwork, and you weren’t being fraudulent or misrepresenting paperwork, then it’s on us,” said Beck, R-Monmouth.

The measure would also expand the Consumer Fraud Act to punish contractors who deceive RREM program participants or fail to do required work.

The bill is intended to make sure information is being given to the homeowners in a more efficient way.

“Requiring that project managers, housing advisers, get back to people within a day, or when one leaves or gets fired, that people are notified with a day and then a new person is assigned within five business days,” Beck said. “We’ve had instances where people go six months and they didn’t even know the person left.”

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