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Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Mwangi

A-1884-10T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2011) (Unpublished)

MORTGAGES; FORECLOSURE — When a homeowner is given an additional ninety days within which to redeem so that the homeowner and its lender could engage in foreclosure mediation, it will not be given a further extension just because the homeowner had difficulty in collecting its financial documents needed to engage in that mediation.

A sheriff’s sale was held in a foreclosure action, and the lender acquired the property at the sale. The borrower, a homeowner, tried to vacate the sale and the lower court, though refusing to do so, extended the period of redemption by ninety days. This was to allow “the parties to engage in foreclosure mediation.” The homeowner “and her attorney did not present the lender with a mediation package containing all of the necessary financial documents until about a week before the ninety-day period expired, which realistically did not allow enough time for the mediation to be completed.” The homeowner then moved to again extend the redemption time. The lower court rejected this request, opining that the homeowner “had not adequately taken advantage of the ninety-day extension.”

The foreclosed homeowner appealed the lower court’s denial of additional time to redeem, contending “that she was entitled to participate in the mediation program and that she had encountered delays in assembling the necessary financial documents for the mediation.” Basically, the homeowner argued that the lower court’s “refusal to order a second extension of time was inequitable and should, therefore, be reversed.”

The Appellate Division upheld the lower court’s refusal even though it found that the homeowner’s “circumstances [were] sympathetic, as they often are in foreclosure cases.” Basically, it held that the homeowner “did not have an open-ended and absolute right to take part in foreclosure mediation on her own time schedule.” It believed that the lower court “was sufficiently indulgent with [the homeowner] and did not abuse its discretion by denying her a further extension of time.”

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