Eviction moratorium ends for moderate-income renters in NJ
TRENTON – One tier of New Jersey’s eviction moratorium expired today, subjecting renters with moderate incomes to losing their homes if they haven’t registered with a state program providing protections and potential financial help.
The moratorium ended Tuesday for tenants with incomes in a range 20% above or 20% below the median income for their county. It continues through the end of December for renters with incomes more than 20% below their county median.
“Now it’s the 11th hour,” said Beverly Brown Ruggia, financial justice program director for New Jersey Citizen Action. “So, people really need to reach out, and they may have to wait a little bit when they call in because there’s a lot of people calling in.”
The Department of Community Affairs has an online certification form for people to establish eligibility. People can seek help with the follow-up aid application by calling 609-490-4550, available each day from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., or by emailing COVID.Rental.Assistance@dca.nj.gov.
Program participants must certify they weren’t able to make rent payments due to the pandemic. Evictions won’t be allowed for unpaid rent during the period dating to March 2020 once a person is certified, but in many cases that money will still have to be repaid – either through government aid or as civil debt to be repaid, like an unpaid credit card balance in default.
“It’s unclear to me how quickly the money will be distributed after that point, but in order to be protected, to get the money at all, you have to be certified. So, that’s the most important thing,” Brown Ruggia said.
Eligibility thresholds vary by county and the size of a tenant’s household. Here’s a chart.
Some counties and cities also have rental assistance programs funded through their share of federal COVID recovery funds, so it may be worth checking with them for financial help.
A federal moratorium that was to be in place through Oct. 3 was rejected by the Supreme Court. It was enacted through the CDC, rather than a specific law passed by Congress, which the court earlier said was required.
New Jersey is one of six states, plus Washington, D.C., with their own eviction moratoriums in place.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at email@example.com.