On Sept. 21, 2021, Governor Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill 5142 which revised N.J.S.A. 54:5-89.1 of the Tax Sale Law (the “Revision”). The Revision appeared to be innocuous, with the signing of the bill occurring with little fanfare. It passed in the Assembly by a vote of 71-1 and in the Senate by a vote of 38-0. Indeed, the only substantive change was the replacement of the phrase “a nominal consideration” with “less than fair market value.”

While the Revision means little to most New Jersey citizens, it has potentially devastating consequences for individuals facing the specter of tax foreclosure. For those unfamiliar, unpaid taxes sold at auction as tax sale certificates (TSC) can be foreclosed by TSC holders unless redeemed prior to entry of final judgment. See Simon v. Cronecker, 189 N.J. 304, 326 (2007). For those facing tax foreclosure, the Revision will make it more difficult to sell their property and salvage any equity before the property is lost to foreclosure.

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