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. This means, if the commercial tenant fails to pay rent in accordance with the lease agreement, the landlord can proceed with filing the eviction matter against the tenant. Unfortunately, New Jersey courts are still not holding landlord/tenant trials except in emergent circumstances.
The New Jersey Supreme Court Order dated July 24, 2020 suspended most landlord/tenant trials until further notice. Commercial tenant evictions in New Jersey seem to be somewhat progressing. Counties have implemented procedures to allow scheduling of mediation for landlords and commercial tenants over virtual mediums, such as Zoom and Skype. Unfortunately, mediation was and continues to be a voluntary process, which means both parties need to appear to come to an agreement. If the case is not settled, it will be scheduled for trial once the courts begin to hold eviction trials again. However, lockouts still will not occur until sixty days following the end of the public health emergency; in fact, even in those circumstances where eviction is permitted in the interest of justice, few if any officers are actually completing the lockout.
Many courts have permitted lockouts to be scheduled for commercial tenants in the event a commercial tenant had already received a default prior to the March 16, 2020 New Jersey court closures. New non-payment cases, residential and commercial, are still only being heard under emergent circumstances.
The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular circumstances. Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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