Trenton, New Jersey; September 30, 2020: Yesterday New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber introduced legislation to stop local governments and private investors from stealing the equity that people have in their homes. Under New Jersey law, local governments can take all the equity in a person’s home if that person falls behind on their property taxes, even if the value of their property is far greater than their debt. The process is known as home equity theft, and it’s illegal.
“The Constitution makes it clear that government isn’t allowed to take more from citizens than it is owed,” said Christina Martin, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “In fact, in a case that PLF argued at the Michigan Supreme Court, the court ruled that counties violated property owners’ rights when they kept the profits of selling tax-foreclosed properties. We’re glad to see an effort in New Jersey to protect peoples’ property rights.”
Approximately a dozen states allow some form of home equity theft, including Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. Pacific Legal Foundation is fighting to end home equity theft throughout the country.
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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 12 victories out of 14 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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