A major legal change on the Federal level, for now, to occur as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was a halt to evictions. This public safety measure has the important goal of ensuring that tenants have a home to shelter in so they can adhere to lifesaving social distancing guidelines – even if they are unable to pay their rent. The eviction moratorium does, however, have a very unpleasant side effect for landlords who are unable to collect rent or evict tenants during a financially challenging time. It is so important for landlords to understand exactly what limits are placed on evictions to avoid giving up more rights than the new federal law requires.
What Effect Does the CARES Act have on New Jersey Evictions?
The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Among other important provisions for financial relief related to the coronavirus pandemic, it also prevents landlords from filing new eviction cases against tenants in properties that are backed by federal funding. The moratorium creates a 120 day ban on new eviction actions. Landlords cannot file new eviction actions until July 25. With notice, Tenants must then be given thirty days in which to vacate the property.
There are other important provisions of the CARES Act that New Jersey residents should be aware of. According to the National Housing Law Project, the law prohibits landlords from filing new eviction actions for nonpayment of rent. Landlords are also prohibited from “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” The Act only applies top “covered properties,” which includes any property that:
- participates in a “covered housing program” as defined by the Violence Against Women Act;
- participates in the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949;
- has a federally backed mortgage loan; or
- has a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan.
The Act does not apply to evictions that are based on reasons other than the failure to pay rent, landlords of properties that are not covered in the above categories, or evictions that were filed before the moratorium was enacted.
What Other Eviction Laws Apply?
There are also changes to state laws regarding evictions. Local procedures, such as getting the sheriff’s office to enforce an eviction order, have also changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only have these laws and local rules changed, but they continue to change on an almost daily basis. It is important for landlords to work with an experienced eviction attorney. Your attorney must not only keep abreast of the many changes to eviction law, but also be able to apply existing eviction statutes and case laws to the unprecedented situation at hand.
An Experienced New Jersey Eviction Lawyer
Attorney Lawrence M. Centanni has years of experience handling New Jersey eviction cases. In these uncertain times, when eviction law is changing almost daily, it is important to work with a skilled lawyer who can properly address the current situation in order to protect landlords’ property rights. Call (908) 351-0028 today schedule your consultation.