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Legislation to Assist Micro-Landlords During Pandemic Clears Committee

Trenton – In an effort to support micro-landlords through the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senators Brian P. Stack and Troy Singleton, which would establish an assistance program to assist landlords of one- and two-family dwellings.
 “Many New Jerseyans have been receiving little or none of their usual income due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while renters have been given relief for their rent payments, many landlords have not been given the same support,” said Senator Stack (D-Hudson). “The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program was expanded to provide assistance for property owners with at least 3 but no more than 30 total housing units, leaving smaller landlords without any aid. With the addition of this new program, landlords with one- and two- family properties will be able to file for assistance as well.”
The bill, S-3037, would establish the “One- and Two-Unit Landlord Emergency Assistance Program” in the Department of Community Affairs. The bill would appropriate $50 million from the General Fund and, to the extent available, money from the CARES Act to fund the program.
“While the Administration’s previous effort to assist small landlords had good intentions, it fell seriously short by leaving out micro-landlords,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). “Through our proposal, we will be able to help these smaller landlords, many who have faced the financial pressure of figuring out how to pay their mortgages, property taxes, insurance and fees at a time when their tenants are not able to make their rent payments.”
Under the bill, landlords of the rental properties could apply for assistance to cover portions of unpaid rent due during the “assistance period.” The bill would define the “assistance period” as the period beginning April 1, 2020 and ending on the first day of the seventh month following the end of the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A landlord would not be entitled to assistance through the program if the rental property is not registered with the municipality it is located in, or if the landlord is not current on all their State and local tax obligations.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.