TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Renee Burgess to establish a “Guaranteed Rental Payment Pilot Program” for certain low-income tenants advanced out of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
The fund would be set up within the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP) and administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Primarily, it would seek to maximize housing opportunities for individuals with a lack of credit history, and also attempt to reach a better understanding between tenant credit ratings and tenant subsequent performance under the lease –including the making of required rental payments.
“We know that in many under-served communities, individuals who fall into a history of bad credit scores have a hard time digging themselves out, while also trying to find and maintain a safe and secure place to call home,” said Senator Burgess (D-Essex). “The affordable housing crisis in our state has worsened since the pandemic. This program is meant to incentivize participants to make their regular payment, and to cut down eviction rates while insulating participating landlords from risk.”
The framework of the bill calls specifically for the collection of data from low- or moderate-income participants who receive rental assistance under the SRAP. The pilot program would also track default lease payments for participants who have a credit rating of poor or lower compared to default rates for tenants who have a rating as fair or higher.
The bill, S-3561, was released from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.