Landlord/Tenant Legislation: COVID-19 Response
The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee advanced a number of bills to address the COVID-19 crisis. Senator Joe Cryan proposed a bill to the Assembly, A-3859/S-2276, which introduced a moratorium on evictions of tenants. The Senate held a Judiciary Committee Meeting and a Senate Voting Session today to vote on these proposed this bill. The Senate made a unanimous decision to pass the bill into law. The new law, in summary, states the following:
- When the Governor declares either a State of Emergency, a Public Health Emergency pursuant to the Emergency Health Powers Act, or both, the Governor has the power to issue an executive order to declare that a lessee, tenant, homeowner or any other person shall not be removed as a result of eviction or foreclosure.
- The moratorium lasts up to two (2) months following the end of the State of Emergency and/or Public Health Emergency.
- Eviction and foreclosure actions may be initiated during this time, but the enforcement of the judgment for possession, warrant of removal or writ of possession are stayed during the moratorium.
- The court may on its own motion or upon the motion of a party that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice and proceed with the execution of the judgment.
- The statute explicitly requires Sheriffs, court officers and their agents to refrain from the action of removing any of the foregoing parties from residential property.
- Residential property is defined as any property rented or owned for residential purposes, including but not limited to, any house building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park or tenement leased for residential purposes, but shall not include any hotel, motel, or other guest house, or part thereof, rented to a transient guest or seasonal tenant, or a residential health care facility.
In addition to the foregoing proposed bills, please also note that the courts have suspended landlord/tenant calendars. The note from the bar states within its first paragraph:
This notice announces a two-week suspension of all landlord/tenant calendars as part of the Judiciary’s ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This suspension of landlord/tenant court proceedings will begin Monday, March 16 and continue through Friday, March 27, 2020.
The bill that has been passed into law permits the filing of an eviction during the moratorium. The case would continue as planned with the exception of the trial date, until re-assigned by the court after March 27, 2020. Once the trial date occurs, if the courts continue to hear landlord/tenant cases as planned on March 27th, the court will not proceed with a lockout until a two (2) months after the termination of the declaration of a State of Emergency and/or Public Health Emergency.
We will continue to keep you updated on the outcome of these bills and any other landlord/tenant news. Please feel free to contact our firm with any questions.
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.
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING MATERIAL © 2020 Griffin Alexander, P.C. All rights reserved.
For any questions about this blog, or to schedule a consultation with an attorney, contact Griffin Alexander, P.C. at 973-366-1188 or through our website here!