NJ DIVISION ON CIVIL RIGHTS RELEASES MODEL NOTICES FOR THE FAIR CHANCE IN HOUSING ACT
As you will recall, earlier this year, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Fair Chance in Housing Act (the “FCHA”), which was signed into law by Governor Murphy on Juneteenth. The law, among other things, overhauled the apartment application process and significantly restricts a landlord’s ability to weigh the criminal history of rental applicants. The passage of the FCHA has required many New Jersey landlords to overhaul their application procedures, and the way in which they run criminal background checks on prospective tenants.
UPDATES TO THE NEW YORK EVICTION MORATORIUM
On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, the New York Legislature passed 2021 N.Y. SB 1, extending its eviction moratorium through January 15, 2022. This extension comes on the heels of the August 12, 2021, decision from the United States Supreme Court which knocked down key portions of the New York eviction moratorium (you can read more about that decision in our blog here).
NEW LANDLORD-TENANT NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS IN NEW JERSEY
On August 5, 2021, New Jersey’s Governor signed NJ S.B. 3691/A.B. 5685 (2021), which will officially end New Jersey’s Eviction Moratorium in waves based on income level beginning August 31, 2021.
THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT ENDS THE CDC FEDERAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
On August 3, 2021, the CDC issued a new eviction moratorium (you can read our blog about the CDC eviction moratorium here). In that blog, we commented that “questions regarding the constitutionality of the CDC’s new order” remained. It so happens that the United States Supreme Court agreed with our assessment. As of yesterday, August 26, 2021, the United States Supreme Court officially ended the CDC’s eviction moratorium.
NY Eviction Moratorium
Over the last year and a half, since March 2020, there have been major changes in the landlord/tenant procedure in New York State in response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these changes have been through executive orders in addition to adoption of new law that affects landlords’ and tenants’ right throughout the state. Along with the state regulations, there are federal protections in place to assist tenants during these trying times. Navigating the nuances of these regulations is becoming increasingly difficult for landlords, as courts at all levels, including the United States Supreme Court, are ruling to uphold or strike down parts of the laws that have been adopted. Below is an overview of some of the current state and federal regulations and protections in place, specific to New York, and the current status of same. Please note that, like everything else since March 2020, the status of these rules is subject to change at a moment’s notice. We strive to keep our clients up-to-date on the latest information available.
THE END OF NEW JERSEY’S EVICTION MORATORIUM CALLED INTO QUESTION
New Jersey’s Governor Murphy signed NJ S.B. 3691 / A.B. 5685 (2021) yesterday, which was set to officially end New Jersey’s Eviction Moratorium. However, this end of the moratorium has been called into question by the recent CDC Order.
NEW CDC EVICTION MORATORIUM
Yesterday, the CDC issued a new eviction moratorium, which is in immediate effect across the country. There are still questions regarding the constitutionality of the CDC’s new order. Nonetheless, even if the order is challenged and found to be unconstitutional, its is likely to delay the end of state-level eviction moratoria that are close to expiring. For example, even if this order is overturned, it will likely delay the end of New Jersey’s current moratorium, which is set to expire for most tenants after August 31, 2021.
NEW JERSEY COVID-19 EVICTION CASES WILL BECOME CONFIDENTIAL
On Wednesday June 30, 2021, the New Jersey Legislature passed NJ S.B. 3713 / A.B. 4463 (2021) (the “Act”), and it now awaits the signature of Governor Murphy. Under this act, certain New Jersey eviction court records during the pandemic must be kept confidential. The goal is to reduce renters that suffered hardship during the pandemic, and who otherwise have a good rental history, from finding new housing.
New Tort Liability Law – New Protections for Community Associations
The State of New Jersey recently passed new protections for community associations regarding potential civil actions involving alleged exposure or transmission of COVID-19 within the community. Specifically, the Assembly and the Senate have passed Senate Bill 3584 which provides additional tort immunity for community associations than was available under existing law. The law has been passed in the legislature and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature, which we do expect to be completed shortly.
NEW RESTRICTIONS ON TENANT BACKGROUND CHECKS IN NEW JERSEY
On June 3, 2021, the New Jersey Legislature passed, and, on June 18, 2021, the Governor Phil Murphy signed, NJ S.B. 250 / A.B 1919 (2020), known as the Fair Chance in Housing Act (the “Act”). The purpose of the Act is to reduce the amount of recidivism amongst ex-convicts in the State of New Jersey. Statistics show that recidivism rates increase (and public safety decreases) when ex-convicts are unable to find stable housing. Consequently, the Act aims to reduce obstacles which may prevent ex-convicts from finding such housing by significantly altering how landlords may conduct background checks.