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What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Rent Due to the Coronavirus

by | Apr 10, 2020 | COVID-19

Many thousands of New Jersey household are already facing financial difficulties because of COVID-19. As a result, many renters will not be able to pay this month’s rent. There are also many renters that are already behind on their rent and may be facing a court date in landlord tenant court; or actual eviction from their apartment. This blog will provide some information on current government actions as well as some suggestions. It is important to note that none of these actions stop rent from being due.

Government Actions on Pending Actions and Evictions

Suspension of Court Hearings
In New Jersey, for those that are already in landlord tenant court, no court hearings on landlord tenant matters can take place until April 26, 2020. This date might be extended if the emergency continues. Pay attention to notices from the Court.

Eviction bans
As for those facing pending evictions, no evictions of residential tenants (tenant lockouts) can take place for up to 2 months after New Jersey Governor Murphy declares the public emergency over.

This is the First Time I Can’t Pay My Rent
Eviction actions: If this is the first you have been unable to pay your rent, please know that your landlord cannot just lock you out. New Jersey has a formal process that a landlord must go through before you can be evicted. The process eventually requires a court hearing, which will take time before such a hearing is scheduled. This process is outlined here: https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_lti/evic_law.pdf 

Even if your landlord does file court papers to try to get you evicted, so long as this COVID-19 crisis continues, it is likely that the suspension of the Court hearings will continue.

Moratorium on some eviction actions: Further, if your landlord has a federally backed mortgage on the rental property that you live in, the landlord is barred from starting all eviction actions for at least 120 days from March 27, 2020. If your landlord does not have a federally backed mortgage an eviction action can be brought although court hearings are not being held.

Give your landlord notice: We advise you to contact your landlord and explain your hardship. Follow up in writing. While all will not be sympathetic, most will understand.

Work out a payment plan: Try to work out a payment plan with your landlord if possible. Once income comes in from unemployment and you get the stimulus checks try to pay some part of the rent, if you can. Hopefully your landlord will work with you.

Bankruptcy can offer relief: If you remain unable to pay the rent, and your landlord is taking you to court, bankruptcy may be an option.

We Hope this Information was Helpful
We have been helping people through their financial difficulties for more than 30 years. We understand that this crisis is unprecedented. Attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt are here to answer any questions you might have regarding your financial situation free of charge. Our experience tells us that the sooner you have a plan, the better the result. Feel free to call us at (973) 323-2953 or contact us online.

We are proudly designated as a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress. We have proudly assisted consumers in filing for Bankruptcy Relief for over 30 years. The information on this website and blogs is for general information purposes only. Nothing should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.