Assembly Panel OK’s Garcia, Green & Schaer Bill to Ensure English & Spanish Versions of Renter’s Rights Guide is Routinely Updated

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel recently approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Carmelo G. Garcia, Jerry Green and Gary Schaer to ensure the English and Spanish versions of the renter’s guide informing tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities is kept current.

The bill (A-3349) would require the Commissioner of Community Affairs to ensure that certain information prepared for landlords and tenants be kept up-to-date in both English and Spanish.

“This guide provides useful information to tenants about their rights as renters. The better informed you are as a renter, the less likely you will be taken advantage of, especially when there is a language barrier,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “This information must be kept up to date and current so there is no confusion or misunderstanding about what is and what is not permissible under the law.”

“This is a valuable resource for renters and landlords alike,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “If there is a tenant-landlord conflict, it will only be worse if those involved are depending on outdated information to make their case. Making sure this information is current prevents renters and landlords from taking actions based on inaccurate information.”

“The renters’ guide is an invaluable resource to both landlords and tenants in our state. This important publication provides critical information to landlords and tenants, regarding their rights and responsibilities as outlined under current law,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “By routinely updating the renter’s guide and providing it in both the English and Spanish language, we can help individuals and their families fully understand what is and isn’t permitted by law.”

Current law requires the Department of Community Affairs to prepare and make available, at no cost to the public, a statement of the legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords of rental dwelling units. The statement must be available in both English and in Spanish. The statement, the “Truth in Renting” guide, was recently updated in English, but the Spanish version was not. The bill would amend that statute to require that the commissioner ensure the statement is reviewed annually and updated as may be necessary. The commissioner must also ensure that any changes made to the English language version of the statement are also made at the same time to the Spanish version.

The bill was released by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.