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By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. February 10, 2021 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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.

On February 5, 2021, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner clarified and expanded the circumstances in which a landlord may apply by Order to Show Cause, in order to obtain an eviction:

  • The Court extended the ability of landlords to obtain emergency evictions to commercial landlord/tenant matters.
  • The Court outlined that for both resident and commercial landlord/tenant matters, courts are required to “review the complaint and determine whether an emergency exists (e.g. violence against other tenants; criminal activity; extreme damage to residence; death of tenant or permanent closure of the business resulting in vacancy of the property).”
  • The Court clarified that while residential landlord/tenant actions still cannot be based on nonpayment of rent  during the COVID-19 pandemic, , they can be based on nonpayment of rent in the case of the death of a tenant.
  • With respect to commercial matters, landlord/tenant actions cannot be based upon nonpayment of rent, except where “the tenant has vacated the property; the tenant’s business is not operating and will not resume operations’ or the commercial landlord is facing foreclosure or a tax lien.”
  • The Court reiterated that courts can schedule landlord/tenant trials when they determine whether an emergency exists. Evictions, thereafter, can proceed, pursuant to Executive Order 106, in the “interest of justice.”

For landlords, this Order from the New Jersey Supreme Court marks a step in the right direction. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 17,500 complaints have been docketed and more than 12,500 cases are still pending. While many may argue the eviction moratoria work well to protect tenants who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, allowing landlords to apply by Order to Show Cause in emergency circumstances is necessary to protect some tenants from potentially disruptive or destructive other tenants.

The February 5th Order provides clarity where past COVID regulations have seemingly granted blanket protection to all tenants. By clarifying and expanding the circumstances in which a landlord may apply by Order to Show Cause, the New Jersey Supreme Court can protect landlords and tenants alike. 

We at Griffin Alexander, P.C. are prepared to assist your organization in determining if and how this Order will affect you and we will strive to ensure that your organization’s goals are met.



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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