Uncertainty Looms As NJ Commercial Evictions Near Restart

February 11, 2021 – Media Mention

Herrick partner and co-chair of the firm’s Real Estate Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Scott Tross, was quoted in Law360 in an article discussing how lenders will be able to pursue evictions of commercial tenants in New Jersey for the first time in months after delays and suspensions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Law360 highlighted that the state's judiciary announced in a notice that, starting next week, post-judgment actions will resume in commercial foreclosure cases, including the issuing of writs of possession. Although commercial foreclosure trials have continued during the pandemic, the courts have withheld post-judgment action.

Scott told Law360, "I do a lot of foreclosure work in New Jersey." He added, "One of the biggest issues is that a lot of the sheriff's offices have been reluctant to schedule sales."

Scott elaborated that he has received more than a dozen writs of executions, which are more common than writs of possession, in the last six months, but getting sheriff's offices to put them into effect has been a mixed bag.

"Gloucester County, for instance, has been fulfilling writs of executions, but other counties, such as Hudson, have not," he said. 

"Most of the delays in the sheriff's offices can be chalked up to the pandemic," Scott added.

"We were going through a [COVID-19] surge in December and January, and I think that scared some of the sheriff's offices," Tross said. "And I'm not saying that's inappropriate, but I do believe that now that things seem to be opening up, I think things will open up with the county sheriffs, as well."

Law360 noted that one of the biggest issues is that a lot of the sheriff's offices have been reluctant to schedule sales. But the resumption of sheriff's sales also presents another hurdle.

"We sent paperwork into a bunch of different sheriffs in early October," Tross said. "We've been trying to get those sales conducted, and what they tell us is there's a huge backlog."

Because there are so many public sales building up at sheriff's offices, "it's going to take a long time to get through that backlog," Tross said.

This article originally appeared in the February 11, 2021 edition of Law360.