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Governor Vetoes the Emergency Rental Assistance Bill

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. July 1, 2020 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

Governor Phil Murphy has vetoed five proposed Coronavirus. The vetoed bills were designed to assist to families and small business suffering from COVID-19 related hardships. Among these vetoed bills was S-2332/A-3956. This bill was discussed in our prior blog, which can be found here.


This bill would have created the 2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The Program would provide a $100 million relief fund to the DCA for distribution to residents in need of rental assistance. The program created by the bill would pay certain amounts of rent for tenants who:

  1. are at least thirty (30) days past due on a rent payment;
  2. are unable to pay rent without assistance; and
  3. have suffered a demonstrable loss in income due to the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.


The goal of the legislation is to assist those who are really in need and have suffered actual loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In vetoing this bill, the Governor commended the bill’s sponsors for their efforts to identify additional programs and funding sources in order to support renters fighting to stay afloat. The Governor advised that he is fearful that the funding for this program’s $100 million fund would fall exclusively on the State. Although the bill would require the use of federal assistance before making an appropriation from the State, the reallocation of funds from the federal funding source identified in the bill is strictly prohibited by HUD.

The Governor expressed that the he created his own COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“CVERAP”). DCA has committed to at least $100 million to the CVERAP, which includes assistance from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund as well as federal Emergency Solutions Grants. Any additional funds necessary beyond these or other federal sources made available for this purpose would come from the State’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This funding will assist low and moderate-income families and individuals who have had a substantial reduction in income or have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of the Governor’s creation of CVERAP, the vetoing of this bill is not a complete removal of the intended fund. We look forward to seeing the results of CVERAP.

The complete list of the vetoed bills and the accompanying statement from the Governor is attached: 

  • S-2329/A-3905 (Ruiz, Vitale/Timberlake, Vainieri Huttle, Quijano) - Revises requirements for cash assistance benefits under Work First New Jersey program; appropriates $17 million.
  • A-3919/SCS for SCS for S-2346 (Calabrese, Spearman, Murphy/Sarlo, Sweeney, Singleton, A.M. Bucco) - Extends certain permits, approvals, and deadlines during COVID-19 emergency. Copy of Statement
  • A-4132/S-2350 (Taliaferro, Downey/Sweeney, Pou, Oroho) - Concerns benefits provided to workers. Copy of Statement
  • S-2332/A-3956 (Stack, Sweeney, Corrado, Ruiz/Chaparro, Mukherji, Wimberly) - Establishes "2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program"; appropriates $100 million. Copy of Statement
  • A-3959/S-2371 (Mukherji, Vainieri Huttle, Reynolds-Jackson/Gopal, O'Scanlon) - Establishes NJ Hospitality Emergency Loan Program in EDA to provide no-interest loans to qualified small hospitality businesses; makes $100 million appropriation to EDA from federal funds for qualified small hospitality business assistance. Copy of Statement

As always, we will keep you posted on any updates!


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 upon particular circumstances.  Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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