New Jersey’s new rent relief law provides a lifeline for struggling tenants but also ends the eviction moratorium for some across the state.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the measure on Wednesday, providing $750 million in aid for tenants behind on their rent or utility bills, according to NJ.com. Renters who make less than 80 percent of their area’s median income will be protected from eviction for the rest of the year, according to the report.
About $500 million of the total will come from the federal American Rescue Plan for rental assistance, with the remaining $250 million will be designated for utility bills. Those with an income less than 120 percent of the area’s median will be eligible for relief.
The bill isn’t universally beneficial for all renters, however. Those with an income above 80 percent of the median of their area will see the eviction moratorium end on the last day of August.
Meanwhile, a foreclosure moratorium is set to expire Nov. 15.
Courts will be able to dismiss eviction cases for tenants who failed to pay rent or rent increases because of the pandemic between March 2020 and August 2021. That rent will turn into civil debt, unable to be reported to creditors or used to deny future housing.
In another piece of legislation passed, some legal actions between tenants and landlords during the pandemic will be made confidential. Landlords will be prohibited from using a nonpayment of rent court record during the pandemic when making housing decisions.
The state moratorium will not be affected by the federal moratorium, which is facing a legal challenge just days after Joe Biden issued it.
[NJ.com] — Holden Walter-Warner