Who Pays Taxes and Other Costs After the Sheriff Sale?
When the foreclosure process is over and your home has been sold to a new owner at a Sheriff Sale, you will most likely have to move. However, under New Jersey law, there are procedures the new owner must go through before they can take possession of the house. They are NOT allowed to simply change the locks on you. If they do so before receiving an Order from the Court for a Writ of Possession or Ejectment, it can be an Unlawful Detainer (N.J.S.A. 2A:39-1)
Learn more about Eviction after Foreclosure in New Jersey here.
This means that you are legally allowed to stay in your home after a sheriff sale until such time as you have been properly evicted or removed by the sheriff.
The new owner of your home cannot lock you out without following the proper procedures, but that does not mean that you are allowed to live there for free. You can still be held responsible for property taxes and utility bills including electricity, heat, water & sewage, and you can be subject to a lawsuit for failing to make these payments. It is not common, but it can happen.
In a recent NJ Superior Court case, the judge awarded damages of $15,000 to the new owner of the home who incurred taxes and water/sewer bills while the previous owner was still occupying the property. The previous owner was ordered to reimburse the new owner for these expenses during the six month period they remained in the house following the sheriff sale. The judge determined that the previous had an obligation to pay their water/sewer bills and property taxes.
If your home has been sold at a New Jersey sheriff sale, contact the Law Office of Ira J. Metrick to discuss your rights and responsibilities.