Since Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 106, issued on March 19, 2020, suspended residential evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency and for two months after the conclusion of the emergency, there has been an issue looming over many foreclosed homeowners and defaulting tenants concerning when they may be forced out of their home. While, for the time being, new owners have their hands tied with legally evicting people from homes, that does not mean there are not any unsavory options for them to pursue. In one case that I personally have seen, the new owners of the property had taken to vandalizing and attempting to make the property uninhabitable. This involved ripping out gas and water meters and even cutting power to the entire building in order to force the tenants to abandon the property. I’ve also heard of cases where the owners have taken to having false court documents sent in an effort to trick the tenant or former homeowner into thinking that they have to leave the property. While these examples are not the proper legal procedure to have a tenant evicted this does not mean that the new owner cares. To some people, getting access to the property as quickly as possible is more important than doing it legally.

There are ways to ensure that your eviction is being done properly though. First and foremost is to contact your county’s sheriff and confirm that the eviction is actually scheduled for the date that the new owner is trying to force you out by. You will also be able to confirm any paperwork you may have received with the sheriff’s office to ensure its authenticity. Another way to ensure your eviction is being handled properly is to confirm that the sheriff will be there at the time of eviction. If a sheriff or sheriff’s deputy is not on site at the eviction then it is not an eviction being conducted in the proper manner and is instead most likely being done solely by the new owner with no warning to the sheriff. During this unprecedented time, it may be difficult to know whether you are being lied to about your eviction but more often than not the easiest way to confirm anything having to do with evictions is to contact your local sheriff’s office.