N.J. Legislators Pass $100 Million COVID-19 Rent Relief Bill

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New Jersey State House
New Jersey State House. Photo via visitnj.org.

Help could soon be on the way for tenants struggling to pay their landlords amid coronavirus job losses, as a fully approved relief bill will now head to Governor Murphy’s desk for possible signature.

Last month, New Jersey’s State Senate unanimously advanced the 2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The purpose of the endeavor was to create a fund of $100 million to assist residential tenants who have experienced financial setbacks in satisfying their rental obligations.

New Jersey’s State Assembly discussed the proposal during a quorum held by their Housing Committee on May 4. After making a few modifications to the Senate’s legislation, they approved the bill on May 14.

Under changes the Assembly made to the legislation, the program would first be paid for with unspent grant money from Hurricane Sandy relief programs. Federal dollars from the coronavirus relief bill would be utilized beyond that, with the remaining amount coming from the state’s general fund.

The program would operate under the New Jersey Homeless Prevention Program and the Commissioner of Community would administer this fund in accordance with existing regulations. To qualify for assistance, renters would have to prove that they are unable to make rental payments for reasons that are “beyond the household’s control” and related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A renter doesn’t need to have been served with a summons or eviction complaint to be eligible but would need to have a current annual income that is no greater than the upper limit of “medium income.” That threshold varies depending on what part of New Jersey an applicant lives in, but qualified tenants cannot make more than 120% of their county’s median family income as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If a renter’s application is approved, a Homelessness Prevention Program Agency would need to verify with the landlord the amount of rent due and the state would then pay the landlord directly. The bill allows the Department of Community Affairs Commissioner to give priority to low and moderate-income residents.

Governor Phil Murphy has not yet commented on the legislation but if he signs it into law, it would take effect immediately.

UPDATE: Governor Murphy has signed the bill into law and New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs has created an information page about the program here. Further details on how to apply for relief will be announced on June 15th and applications will be taken in July. Applicants who are accepted are set to begin receiving rental assistance in September.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Hi email regarding assistance with my rent just one ? If the bill pass how would everyone know about applying for rent assistance and when thank you very much.

  2. HELLO IS THERE A WEBSITE TO APPLY FOR RENTERS HELP? I HAVE 3 KIDS AND DID NOT GET A STIMILUS CHECK AND DID NOT GET ENOUGH FROM UIB TO PAY ANYTHING.

  3. Hi, I’m one of those people who are not eligible for unemployment benefits, since I have been unemployed for a while now. I am 53 years old and once you are out, it’s not easy to get back, as I’ve learned., though I”m still trying. I’m so grateful for stimulus check of $1,200, however, only my rent is $1,500. Please help! God bless!

  4. Good morning governor Murphy! I just want to say thank you for taking drastic measures to insure the safety of ALL People and the residents of the State of New JERSEY GOVERNOR MURPHY PLEASE EXPEDITE THE RENT BILL INTO LAW. WE NEED HELP!!!!

  5. i have 8 kids 2 of my kids is dow sindrom and im single mom and i ewe 2 month ren i stop work on march 18 then dont know when i go back to work and no ones want to help i asking for help and no one helo so this is not true people dont know how hard is for some people on this coronavirus situacion i dont know what wlse i will do is so hard my situcion people whos email to me is scamers only

  6. Hello there are alot of questions about how to receive help, and not enough clear resources for a positive outcome.
    I personally have went from 155 to 122 lbs since the outbreak because of not clear on any resources available and I’m afraid of making mistakes that could possibly hurt me more, so I’m doing my best, but I know it’s just not good enough, I wish for better resources without disrespect from people who claim to be there to assist you. I’m doing without what could possibly help me, but without clear response I’m just too tired of one let down after another so I’m at a stand still, thank God I finally got food stamps at least one good thing happened in my life, and I’m eating now thank u to those who saw to it I got my food to sustain my health I owe you my life Thank u

  7. I feel like NJ should cancel rent and bail out the landlords. That would be a big stressor off of people shoulders, and a true blessing especially since NJ rent is ridiculously expensive. People are drowning we have other bills to worry about and the price of food is high. Even if you are working its hard to keep your head above the water. Governor Murphy please help the people in NJ. Thank you

  8. ” hi I need help with my rent .unemployment just stop for reasons I don’t know I can’t reach anyone by phone for help ‘ it been months now no money rent is do I don’t have it ..please someone let us know how we can get the help the Government say’s it has to assist us.. but yet you say Vote..

  9. Dear govener Murphy I need help im disabled and fighting for my ssi I have a son and will be homeless soon been waiting on section 8 they never call please can’t be homeless homeless to sick I have mental and. Physical disabled

  10. Can we apply on line for a stimulus check for the rent? I’m behind one month of RENT.
    I’m trying to catch up.
    Trying to pay my loans also, I’m behind in that as well. With all the other bills in my household is not enough to lay everything and put food on my table.

  11. Need help paying paying my rent I’m receiving unemployment but not enough to cover my rent what to do in this situation please?

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