In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, four Assembly Democrats sponsor a bill that would allow the Governor to permit rent suspension for certain small business tenants financially impacted by the current public health emergency. The legislation passed the full Senate and full Assembly Monday, 37-0 and 71-3-6 respectively, and now heads to the Governor.
The bill (A-3921) authorizes the Governor to issue an executive order allowing businesses with less than 51 employees that lease their property and have lost more than 80 percent of their usual monthly revenue to request an emergency rent suspension.
A rent suspension would ensure the business could not be evicted for up to three months and could pay back the amount owed at a later date over the span of six to nine months.
Upon the bill’s passage, Assembly sponsors Daniel Benson, Vincent Mazzeo, Shanique Speight and Wayne DeAngelo released the following statements:
“Our small businesses are being hit hard by this pandemic,” said Assemblyman Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “We need to make sure New Jersey’s small business community receives the immediate relief this bill offers as they wait for other government assistance programs to take effect so they can stay afloat and focus on helping their employees weather this pandemic.”
“With the majority of our state’s population restricted to their homes, hundreds of thousands of residents facing unemployment and normal business operations being interrupted by important public health measures, countless businesses are experiencing a significant loss of revenue,” said Assemblyman Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “These are highly challenging times that are impacting the business community in ways no one could have predicted just a short time ago.”
“Both the state and federal government are working to provide aid during this crisis, such as the Economic Development Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program and the Small Business Administration’s various loan programs,” said Assemblywoman Speight (D-Essex). “However, many companies – especially small businesses – are still struggling to pay their bills. No business should be evicted from a property because it cannot pay rent due to an unprecedented international crisis.”
“This legislation will give the Governor the option to authorize rental relief for the small businesses that need the help right now,” said Assemblyman DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “It’s important for our state to be able to function and thrive again once this pandemic is under control. By helping businesses through this challenging time, we can ensure our residents have jobs to return to and companies to fulfill their needs when we can return to normal operations.”