McKnight, Chaparro, & Downey bill to expand protections for senior renters clears committee

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A bill sponsored by Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-31), Annette Chaparro (D-33), and Joann Downey (D-11) to expand protections for senior renters cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee earlier today.

Assemblywomen Angela McKnight (D-31) and Annette Chaparro (D-33). Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This legislation simply expands existing law to ensure senior renters are not subject to extra fees and fines added to their rent under certain circumstances,” McKnight said in a statement.

“Senior citizens should be given every opportunity to avoid fines if they are unable to pay their rent on time due to a health concern and a visit to a hospital.”

Under current law, a landlord is prohibited from imposing late charges on certain senior citizen tenants, including those who receive certain pension benefits or governmental assistance, during the five business day period following the due date of a rental payment.

The Bill A-1740, sponsored by McKnight, Chaparro and Downey, prohibits a landlord of a senior citizen housing project from assessing late charges against a senior citizen tenant who was unable to make a timely rental payment due to being admitted to a health care facility.

The bill would also allow for a grace period of five days after being discharged from the facility.

“The health of our residents should always be a priority. This bill will protect our senior citizens who are unable to pay rent when they are away from their home as they are focusing on their health – which is something they should not, under any circumstance, be penalized for,” Chaparro added.

“Life happens, and it can sometimes be impossible to predict a hospital visit. If that is the case, it is of no fault of the tenant who is not physically able to deliver or mail their rent. It is only right that we put our senior citizens’ health first, and allow them the recovery time they need without the worry of how much extra money they will have to put towards rent when they get home,” Downey noted.

The measure will now go to the assembly speaker for further review.