Renter Assistance Bill a Win for Residents and the Economy

Trenton, NJ – June 24, 2021 – New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) lauds the passage of S3691/A5685 today in the Senate and Assembly, that will provide critical protections and assistance to renters. Through no fault of their own, hundreds of thousands of renters have been struggling economically and they now have protection from eviction through December 31st.

Throughout the last sixteen months, NJCA has worked alongside a broad coalition of tenant advocates to ensure no renter loses their home through eviction, have their credit damaged, or lose their ability to find a home in the future because of the pandemic.

This legislation puts New Jersey at the forefront with some of the strongest protections in the nation for renters, while protecting the health, safety, and long-term economic stability of thousands of tenants. If signed into law, no one would be evicted for nonpayment or late payment of rent that occurred between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021. Rent for that period would be considered civil debt and could not be reported to creditors or used to deny housing in the future.

NJCA looks forward to the implementation of the homeowner fund by Department of Community Affairs and to additional legislation to make sure that homes are not lost to foreclosure because of the pandemic.  But today, with a $500 million allocation for emergency rental assistance and $250 million for utility assistance, thousands of families will get the assistance they need and breathe a little easier after the incredible challenges they have faced. Moreover, our state’s economy will be shielded from the potential disaster of mass evictions.

NJCA praises Senator Brian Stack, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake, and legislative leaders for embracing these solutions in response to the unprecedented challenges facing renters and landlords in our state. We urge Governor Murphy to sign the legislation quickly to provide this critical relief in a just, compassionate, and practical pathway forward.

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New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and empowerment organization that advances social, racial and economic justice for all, while also meeting the pressing needs of low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans through education and direct services.