Union City passed an ordinance barring any evictions of residential or commercial tenants within the city during their state of emergency, including for non-payment, to “further prevent displacement of tenants.”
Although Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order barring eviction for residential tenants last month, that directive does not protect the removal of tenants for non-payment by landlords who own their property.
Union City’s legislation would establish a moratorium on all evictions, whether the property is mortgaged or owned by the landlord, except if cases where the tenant “poses an imminent threat” to the safety of other occupants.
“We are not telling residents to not pay their rent. If you are in the position to pay, please do so. This is also not focused on all landlords. Many landlords have been very reasonable with tenants and have considered their circumstances,” state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack said in a statement.
“However, we are a facing unprecedented times and residents need relief wherever possible. This ordinance is simply closing the gap to ensure that we do not have a bigger public health crisis upon us.”
Union City’s legislation also prohibits the eviction of commercial tenants. Additionally, the measure halts any late fees during the city’s state of emergency.
Though the ordinance notes that both residential and commercial tenants would not be relieved “from paying back rent in the future.” This shall remain in effect until the end of Murphy’s state of emergency.
The intent of the ordinance is “to prevent displacement, reduce transmission of (COVID-19), and promote the stability and the health and safety of the residents and businesses of Union City during the state of emergency,” Stack continued.
“Housing security and stability are critical to the public health and this ordinance is in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of Union City residents.”
Furthermore, Stack is one of the primary sponsors of a bill in the state senate that would establish the the 2020 New Jersey Emergency Rental Assistance Program “for the purpose of helping residential tenants who experienced financial setbacks attributable to the COVID-19 crisis to satisfy their rental obligations.”
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