Due to the fact that New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state, a lender must go through a court to repossess a home after the mortgage is considered in default, which typically consists of three or more months of missed payments, states Nolo. Before filing a complaint with the court, the lender must notify the homeowner by sending a Notice of Intention to Foreclose.
A Notice of Intention to Foreclose is sent by the lender to the homeowner 30 days before the lender can file a complaint, states Nolo. Information on the notice includes the homeowner's right to cure the default, what happens if the default is not settled and how to stop the foreclosure process. If the homeowner does not settle the default within 30 days of receiving the notice, the lender can then file a foreclosure complaint with the Office of Foreclosure.
The lender must serve the summons of the complaint to the homeowner once the complaint is filed, explains Nolo. The summons includes a copy of the complaint and information about the foreclosure mediation program available in New Jersey. The homeowner then has 35 days to file a noncontesting answer, meaning the homeowner admits defaulting on the mortgage, or a contesting answer, meaning the homeowner has valid evidence suggesting the lender has no right to foreclose the property.
Homeowners who file a contesting answer receive a court date and may go to trial to defend their right to the property, states Nolo. Lenders may ask the court for final judgement if a complaint receives no answer or a noncontesting answer after 35 days.