The Waterfront Project (WFP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting Hudson County’s economically disadvantaged people – the working poor, seniors, veterans, and those living with disabilities – by providing information, advice, and pro bono legal representation to address their civil legal issues and concerns. They sent us some important information regarding Tenant protection during the COVID-19 Health Crisis.
Can my landlord evict me from my apartment?
No. Three temporary measures protect Hudson County tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s Executive Order 106 halts all evictions until further notice. While landlords may still file eviction complaints, the New Jersey Judiciary has postponed all hearing on those complaints through April 26, 2020. The Hudson County Sheriff has halted posting eviction notices or carrying out evictions until further notice.
What if I went to Court before COVID-19 and I lost my case? My landlord already has a judgment for possession against me.
The Governor’s Executive Order suspends all lockouts and the Hudson County Sheriff has halted serving eviction notices or carrying out evictions. So, even if you lost your case before the COVID-19 pandemic, if you are still in your home, you cannot be removed from it. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to fight the judgement against you. Contact the Waterfront Project to find out.
What if my landlord tries to lock me out without going to court?
Call the police, immediately. Tell them your landlord is illegally locking you out.
Do I still have to pay my rent?
Yes. Tenants must continue to pay their rent. At this time, no government entity has issued a rent freeze or rent waiver. While financial assistance may become available to help pay back rent for those who lost income due to COVID-19, we don’t yet know how much will be available or who will be eligible.
What if I lost my job and can’t pay my rent?
Though expanded rental assistance for those who lost income due to COVID-19 is not yet available, you may be eligible for other benefits already in existence. To apply for unemployment benefits, visit https://myunemployment.nj.gov/. To apply for cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid, visit https://oneapp.dhs.state.nj.us/ (if you only need Medicaid, visit www.njfamilycare.org). For emergency rental assistance, call the Hudson County Dept. of Family Services at (201) 420-3000 (ext. 2064 or ext. 2055).
What if I need information from my landlord to apply for benefits and he won’t provide it? Or what if my landlord says he doesn’t accept government benefits?
If you apply for rental assistance or other benefits, your landlord may be required to provide documents as part of your application. You landlord cannot refuse to provide required documentation or refuse to accept those funds. If you need help getting your landlord to comply, contact The Waterfront Project.
The Waterfront Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit legal help center that provides free legal representation, housing counseling, and financial counseling for Hudson County’s low and moderate income residents. If you have questions about your rights, call them at (551) 256-7578.