Federal National Mortgage Association v. Bracero

297 N.J. Super. 105, 687 A.2d 802 (Ch. Div. 1996)
  • Opinion Date: July 26, 1996

FORECLOSURE; NOTICES—The New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act requires a lender to mail a certain initial notice to a delinquent borrower. The statute permits a response from the delinquent borrower, the effect of which is to delay the foreclosure proceeding. Even though the statute states that the response is to be mailed to the lender, the lender’s notice may give the address of the lender’s attorney for responses and not be violative of the Act.

Under the Fair Foreclosure Act, a debtor may send a “good faith notice to cure” to its lender following receipt of a foreclosure notice. The statute expressly states that the good faith notice from the debtor is to be sent to the lender. In this case, the lender’s foreclosure notice gave its attorney’s office as the address to which the good faith notice was to be sent. Therefore, the issue before the Court was whether the response to the lender’s attorney was tantamount to a response to the lender. The express language of the statute calls for a response by mail to the lender, and recites that the debtor’s good faith response be sent “to the address of the lender who gave notice.” In the Court’s view, the response that is to be mailed to the lender should more appropriately be sent to counsel for the lender and the principles of agency and efficiency mandate such a result. The Court opined that the legislature could not have intended to abrogate agency principles and there is no dispute that the lender’s attorneys are clearly the lender’s agents for purposes of the foreclosure action. Consequently, notice to the attorney is equivalent to notice to the lender.