More rent relief is on the way for some Jersey City tenants and landlords, but with caveats.
The mayor’s office and housing authority will provide up to $10,000 in rental assistance per household to low-income families in small-unit buildings. Qualifying families in owner-occupied buildings with fewer than five apartments will get priority, the mayor’s office announced last week.
Participating landlords cannot evict the tenant or raise rent for a minimum of one year after receiving funding. That could be an issue for landlords eager to evict tenants who stopped paying rent when the threat of eviction was removed.
To qualify, tenants must be Jersey City residents that have lost income because of Covid-19 or incurred significant pandemic-induced costs.
Priority is given to households that have had at least one family member unemployed for 90 days or more, as well as those making half of the area median income or less. For a family size of four, that would be $51,750.
The city is putting more than $7 million it received in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds to finance the aid. Up to $10,000 per family will go toward current rent and arrears dating back to April 1, 2020.
The aid comes after the Fulop administration dedicated $2.5 million earlier this year to 1,600 low-income families to help cover utility and rent costs. The funding came from the Covid-19 Community Relief Distribution Fund and CARES Act.
The goal is to focus on smaller buildings first to help property owners struggling to pay mortgages and other bills, Fulop said.
“Once we can help our lowest-income residents, we intend to methodically expand the eligibility pool further by income and to non-owner-occupied buildings,” Fulop said.
Landlords and social-services case managers can initiate applications for rent relief on a tenant’s behalf, but a tenant must participate in the application process. The rental assistance will be paid directly to the landlord or property manager.
Online applications for the aid will be accepted from Aug. 17 to 31.