NJ Is Poised to Halt Residential Evictions During Pandemic

March 18, 2020Alerts

On March 16, 2020, the New Jersey State Assembly passed Bill A-3859 which would prohibit residential tenant eviction and eviction due to residential foreclosure during certain emergency circumstances. An identical bill, Bill S-2276, was introduced the same day in the state Senate and remains pending.

Specifically, the bills provide that, whenever a public health emergency or a state of emergency is declared by the Governor and is in effect, the Governor may issue an executive order to declare that a lessee, tenant, homeowner, or any other person cannot not be removed from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. The executive order would remain in effect for a period not to exceed two months following the end of the public health emergency or state of emergency.

The law would still permit eviction and foreclosure proceedings to be initiated or continued during the time of the executive order, but enforcement of all judgments for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession would be stayed, unless the court determines on its own motion or motion of the parties that enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice.It would also require sheriffs, court officers and their agents to refrain from acting to remove individuals from residential properties through the eviction or foreclosure process during the time of the executive order, unless the court determined that removal was necessary in the interest of justice.

If passed, the time frame within which residential landlords would be able to conclude eviction proceedings would be impacted. However, the law would not preclude the initiation of proceedings during the time period protected by the executive order. The delay should not exceed two months following the conclusion of the public health emergency or state of emergency as the executive order may not remain in effect for longer than two months following the state of emergency.