Are New Jersey’s eviction protections sufficient?

A federal freeze on most evictions passed last year is expected to expire on July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by one month.

The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, was the only tool allowing millions of tenants to stay in their homes. Many of them lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and were months behind on their rent.

The owners successfully challenged the order in court, arguing that they also had bills to pay. They pointed out that tenants could access more than $ 45 billion in federal funds set aside to help pay rent and related expenses.

Tenant advocates say the cash flow has been slow and it takes longer to distribute it and reimburse landlords. Without an extension, they feared an upsurge in evictions and lawsuits aimed at evicting tenants behind on their rents.

As of June 7, about 3.2 million people in the United States said they were at risk of deportation within the next two months, according to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks using online responses from a representative sample of American households.

Here is the situation in New Jersey:

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF STATE DELETION MORATORIES?

New Jersey is one of many states that last year declared a moratorium ending deportation proceedings. The New Jersey moratorium will remain in effect until January 1, 2022, at the latest due to a bill signed by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. The moratorium does not affect when rent is due, and tenants still owe the rent.

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO HELP PEOPLE TARGETING EVICTIONS?

The state provides $ 353 million in rent assistance to low- and moderate-income households experiencing a substantial drop in their income. The state was also told by the federal government that an additional $ 272 million under the US bailout would apply to rent assistance. The application period will remain open until all funds have been awarded, according to the Department of Community Affairs, and landlords can apply on behalf of tenants, with tenant permission.

The state is also launching the pilot project for expanded access to homeless counseling and diversion this summer to provide legal and protective services to low-income households at risk of eviction.

The state has also been told by the federal government that it will receive nearly 1,000 emergency housing assistance vouchers to help the homeless. This is in addition to 12 months of federal rent assistance to approximately 1,500 households facing homelessness.

Beyond that, the Democratic-led legislature passed a budget allocating $ 500 million in federal funds to help tenants pay their rent. The bill is being considered as part of the annual budget, which must be promulgated by July 1.

HOW DO THE COURTS HANDLE EXVICTION HEARINGS?

Landlord-tenant lawsuits are suspended until further notice in New Jersey. Other actions, such as motions and settlement conferences, may continue. Under the state’s Supreme Court order of July 14 last year, evictions can only take place in an emergency and cannot be based on non-payment of rent. Trials can only take place in the event of a tenant’s death or if the court determines that there is an emergency, such as documented violence, criminal activity or other health and safety issues, depending on the state courts.

WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE STATE’S MAJOR RENTAL MARKETS?

In May, the median monthly rent in the New York-Newark-Jersey City area remained stable last year at $ 2,400, according to a report released on June 16 by Realtor.com. The New York metropolitan area is considered one of the most expensive in the country.

In the Philadelphia-Camden area, rents rose 3.2% to a total of $ 1,600.

According to the report, median rents for a two-bedroom apartment in northern New Jersey rose 6.9% to $ 2,725 in May, and 4.7% to reach $ 1,800 in southern New Jersey. New Jersey.

SHOULD EVICTIONS CREATE AN INCREASE IN HOMELESSNESS?

It’s hard to say how much roaming will increase in New Jersey. The US census estimates that out of about 270,000 renters, about 91,000 are considered “very likely” to leave their homes due to evictions. New Jersey did a “at some point” count of homelessness in January, but the data is not yet available, according to the state’s Department of Community Affairs.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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