55:19-91. Municipality deemed to have ownership interest
14. a. If a municipality has been granted possession of a property pursuant to section 12 of P.L.2003, c.210 (C.55:19-89), that municipality shall be deemed to have an ownership interest in the property for the purpose of filing plans with public agencies and boards, seeking and obtaining construction permits and other approvals, and submitting applications for financing or other assistance to public or private entities.
For the purposes of any State program of grants or loans, including but not limited to programs of the Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, possession of a property under this section shall be considered legal control of the property.
Notwithstanding the granting of possession to a municipality, nothing in P.L.2003, c.210 (C.55:19-78 et al.) shall be deemed to relieve the owner of the property of any obligation the owner or any other person may have for the payment of taxes or other municipal liens and charges, or mortgages or liens to any party, whether those taxes, charges or liens are incurred before or after the granting of possession.
The granting of possession shall not suspend any obligation the owner may have as of the date of the granting of possession for payment of any operating or maintenance expense associated with the property, whether or not billed at the time of the granting of possession.
b.The court may approve the borrowing of funds by a municipality to rehabilitate the property and may grant a lien or security interest with priority over all other liens or mortgages other than municipal liens. Prior to granting this lien priority, the court shall find that (1) the municipality sought to obtain the necessary financing from the senior lienholder, which declined to provide such financing on reasonable terms; (2) the municipality sought to obtain a voluntary subordination from the senior lienholder, which refused to provide such subordination; and (3) lien priority is necessary in order to induce another lender to provide financing on reasonable terms.
No lien authorized by the court shall take effect unless recorded in the office of the clerk of the county in which the property is located. For the purposes of this section, the cost of rehabilitation shall include reasonable non-construction costs such as architectural fees or construction permit fees customarily included in the financing of the rehabilitation of residential property.
c.Where the municipality has been granted possession by the court in the name of the municipality, the municipality may seek the approval of the court to assign its rights to another entity, which approval shall be granted by the court when it finds that: (1) the entity to which the municipality's rights will be assigned is a qualified rehabilitation entity; and (2) the assignment will further the purposes of this section.
d.Where a municipality has designated a qualified rehabilitation entity to act on its behalf, the qualified rehabilitation entity shall provide quarterly reports to the municipality on its activities and progress toward rehabilitation and reuse of the property. The municipality or qualified rehabilitation entity, as the case may be, shall provide such reports to the court as the court determines to be necessary. If the court finds that the municipality or its designee have failed to take diligent action toward rehabilitation of the property within one year from the grant of possession, then the court may request the municipality to designate another qualified rehabilitation entity to exercise its rights, or if the municipality fails to do so, may terminate the order of possession and return the property to its owner.
e. The municipality shall file a Notice of Completion with the court, and shall also serve a copy on the owner and any mortgage holder or lien holder, at such time as the municipality has determined that no more than six months remain to the anticipated date on which rehabilitation will be complete. This notice shall include an affidavit of the public officer attesting that rehabilitation can realistically be anticipated to be complete within that time period, and a statement setting forth such actions as it plans to undertake to ensure that reuse of the property takes place consistent with the plan.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016