New Jersey Senate clears Stack bill to allow municipalities to prohibit evictions during COVID-19

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The New Jersey Senate cleared a bill introduced by Brian Stack (D-33) that will allow municipalities to pass regulations to prohibit evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“One of the biggest lessons we learned during the Great Recession was the need to prevent mass homelessness in this state. New Jersey families that have been unable to afford rent during the COVID-19 pandemic do not deserve to be evicted and thrown onto the streets,” Stack said in a statement.

“That is just a totally inhumane act during these trying times. Not only is it important we prevent people from becoming homeless, we also need people to stay inside so we can beat the pandemic.”

A municipality may temporarily ban evictions, due to late rent payment, during the declared Public Health Emergency issued by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 19th, Murphy signed Executive Order 106, halting foreclosures and evictions for the duration of coronavirus pandemic.

This ban would end after the Public Health Emergency is declared over. However, landlords would be able to recover unpaid rent by filing an action with a county superior court.

The bill, S-2485, was released from the Senate by a vote of 31-0.

Stack, in his capacity as Union City mayor, is engaged in a court battle with the Union City Housing Initiative – a property owners group seeking to overturn the city’s local rent hike and eviction freezes.

Last week, at attorney for the UCHI argued that this bill would allow Stack to rewrite state law to retroactively give the aforementioned Union City ordinances legal standing.