NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT FEBRUARY 5TH ORDER: APPLICATION FOR A COMMERCIAL LANDLORD/TENANT TRIAL IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES
On July 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey authorized several steps to support the resumption of landlord/tenant case processing during the COVID-19 crisis. Namely, the Court carved out an exception to the suspension of landlord/tenant trials, allowing landlords to apply for issuance of an Order to Show Cause for evictions in emergency circumstances.
NJ Landlords Challenge Governor Murphy’s Security Deposit Executive Order
On April 24, 2020 Governor Phil Murphy signed NJ Exec. Order No. 128 (2020). This executive order waived laws governing security deposits and allowed tenants to use their security deposits to cover their rent during the COVID-19 crisis.
Federal Moratoriums Extended – What This Means For Landlords
As you may be aware, the Federal Stimulus Package, signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020, has temporarily extended the CDC Eviction Moratorium. The passage in Stimulus Package states as follows: SEC. 502. EXTENSION OF EVICTION MORATORIUM. The order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264), entitled, “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” (85 Fed. Reg. 55292 (September 4, 2020) is extended through January 31, 2021, notwithstanding the effective dates specified in such Order.
Update on Evictions in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the eviction moratorium was in place until August 31, 2020. Following this, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent lasting until December 31, 2020. However, residents would have to be eligible to fall under these protections, which prevents a landlord from even proceeding with an eviction case (which includes the filing and sending of certain notices), after receiving a declaration from a tenant stating they are experiencing a hardship as a result of the pandemic. However, the state protections in Pennsylvania have lapsed. There are efforts going through the Pennsylvania legislature to extend the eviction moratorium, but they have so far been unsuccessful. There also currently does not exist any order permitting tenants to utilize their security deposit for rent in Pennsylvania.
Update on Evictions in New Jersey
As most are already aware of, residential tenants in New Jersey cannot currently be locked out of their homes during the COVID-19 emergency. The New Jersey governor, on October 24, 2020 signed another executive order, Number 186, which extends the Public Health Emergency that was declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103, which was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, and September 25. By the Governor’s Order, there is a moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures. Commercial tenants are not subject to the moratorium.
EXTENSION ON COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS IN NEW YORK
On October 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.70, which further strengthens tenants’ protections during the COVID-19 pandemic, this time for commercial tenants. The Executive Order extends New York State’s moratorium on COVID-related commercial evictions and foreclosures through January 1, 2021. Governor Cuomo states that the “extension of this protection gives commercial tenants and mortgagors additional time to get back on their feet and catch up on rent or their mortgage, or to renegotiate their lease terms to avoid foreclosure moving forward”.
CDC Issues Guidance, Apartment Industry Concerns Heard
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document as informal guidance to supplement its Order to temporarily halt residential evictions. The CDC Order, as drafted, contained certain ambiguities that the FAQ has now made clear.
Can Landlords Charge Late Fees in New York?
A number of executive orders have been passed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extending and expanding the temporary suspension of several New York state laws due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many landlords have inquired if they are permitted to charge late fees to tenants who continue to pay their rent late.
Federal Eviction Moratorium – CDC Order
The Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an Order to be published in the Federal Register on September 4, 2020. This Order issues a nationwide eviction moratorium, beginning on Friday, September 4, 2020, which will run through the end of the year, ending (unless extended) on December 31, 2020.