May 11, 2023

Trenton – In an effort to further assist storm-impacted homeowners, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Andrew Zwicker, which would establish temporary foreclosure protections and mortgage relief for homeowners impacted by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The bill, S-3640, would require mortgage servicers to grant a mortgage forbearance to storm-impacted homeowners upon the homeowner’s written request to the servicer, prior to the first day of the sixth month following enactment of the bill.

“Despite federal aid, many homeowners impacted by Hurricane Ida remain financially burdened from the effects of the storm. Flooding damage from the storm necessitated costly repairs to their homes, replacement of damaged possessions, and other financial challenges,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Committee. “This legislation would further assist these homeowners by providing them with mortgage relief and temporary foreclosure protections.”

Under the bill, the minimum initial forbearance would be set at one year, though a storm-impacted owner may request and be granted a subsequent forbearance period of at minimum 180 days. The measure would prohibit mortgage servicers from imposing additional fees or penalties due to the forbearance.

“Due to the devastation of Hurricane Ida, some homeowners continue to face financial difficulties making their mortgage payments or have been forced to enter foreclosure proceedings as a direct consequence of the storm,” said Senator Zwicker (D- Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “This bill would provide a lifeline for families who continue to face challenges in their storm recovery, while also helping to prevent possible homelessness for those who may be in danger of foreclosure.”

Lastly, the bill would define the term “storm-impacted homeowner” as an owner who, as of August 31, 2021, occupied the property as the primary residence, and obtained federal disaster assistance as a result of damage sustained to the home due to the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.