BV0001 REO Blocker, LLC v. 53 W. Somerset St. Prop., LLC

In BV0001 REO Blocker, LLC v. 53 W. Somerset St. Prop., LLC, the New Jersey Appellate Division dealt with a foreclosure action with a dash of fraud and tax certificates. The defendant owned real property and agreed to sell it to a buyer who would occupy it, make payments to the owner, pay real estate taxes, and, after five years, the owner would transfer full ownership to the buyer. During those five years, the buyer stopped making monthly payments, failed to pay the property taxes, and fraudulently designated itself as the property owner’s registered agent. As a result of the back taxes, the municipality sold a tax certificate on the property. When the plaintiff sought foreclosure, it served the occupants and not the property owner. When no one responded to the foreclosure action, the plaintiff received a default judgment. Only then did the property’s true owners learn of the predicament. The defendant sought to vacate the default judgment, but the Law Division denied the request. On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed, holding that the equitable principles that underpin a court’s decision to vacate a default judgment favor the defendant.

BV001-REO-Blocker-LLC