Given the COVID-19 health crisis, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed Executive Order 106 on March 19, 2020, which placed a moratorium on removals of tenants, lessees, or homeowners from residential properties stemming from evictions or foreclosure proceedings. The executive order declared that police should also refrain from removing residents from their properties while this order is in place. Nor can an eviction take place for nonpayment of rent, unless the tenant has died (according to a Supreme Court of NJ order from February 5, 2021). The order does, however, state that evictions may be allowed only if it is “in the interest of justice.” Governor Murphy cites severe economic impacts (such as housing insecurity and loss of income) along with the fact that removal from housing can increase one’s chances of contracting the virus as justification for the order.
This moratorium was declared to be effective “for no longer than two months” after the end of the Public Health Emergency or State of Emergency, unless otherwise revoked by the Governor via another executive order. Since the mortarium was declared, Governor Murphy has extended the Public Health Emergency status several times, the most recent of which was on April 15, 2021, by means of NJ Executive Order 235, meaning this moratorium is still effective.
Considering the frequent extensions of the Public Health Emergency status by the Governor, along with the fact that (as per Executive Order 239 on May 12, 2021) New Jersey has just entered Phase 2 of easing COVID restrictions (meaning we still have another phase to go through prior to achieving economic normality), another extension could be possible.
In commercial landlord – tenant matters, similar to residential evictions, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ordered that the basis of a removal cannot be based on nonpayment of rent. The exception to this decision are as follows: The tenant has vacated the property, the tenant’s business is not in operation or will not resume operation(s), and/or the landlord is currently facing a tax lien or a foreclosure.
To access the State of New Jersey’s eviction moratorium information and answer form for additional information, please visit the following website: https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/renter.