(TRENTON) – The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated New Jersey’s housing crisis. Necessary public health measures taken during the pandemic and job loss has caused severe economic difficulties for landlords and tenants alike.
To help alleviate the pressure landlords and renters are experiencing as we begin to see an end to emergency measures enacted during the public health crisis, a bill aiming to ward off eviction and help residents navigate rental assistance programs was signed into law on Wednesday.
The new law (formerly bill A-5685), sponsored by Assembly members Britnee Timberlake (D-Essex), Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic), Angela McKnight (D-Hudson) and Shanique Speight (D-Essex) will provide financial relief to certain residential landlords and tenants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the law will protect low-income, moderate-income, and middle-income households from residential evictions based upon nonpayment or habitual late payment of rent that accrued during the covered period. In addition to eviction and credit reporting protections, it provides landlords and tenants with substantial rental assistance through the existing Homelessness Prevention Program agencies in consultation with DCA.
The sponsors issued the following statement on the new law:
“The loss of millions of jobs and the resulting economic crisis caused by the pandemic has the potential to trigger an eviction tsunami in the coming months if we do not act now. It is estimated that more than 300,000 tenants could face eviction following the end of the eviction moratorium established under Executive Order 106, a significant increase over pre-pandemic filings.
“While many tenants have faced economic hardship during the pandemic, landlords have shouldered the financial burden of housing their tenants, maintaining their buildings, paying their mortgages, taxes, and other financial obligations with limited help from the State or federal government and reduced rental income. This law will provide significant eviction protections to struggling tenants and a steady stream of assistance income to struggling landlords as New Jersey recovers from the pandemic.”