Evictions and Foreclosures Moratorium Explainer with Forms

The Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHCD) has finished promulgating emergency regulations and forms based on H4647 - An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency which was signed into law April 20. For a full list of these regulations and forms see the DHCD website by clicking here

The provisions bellow will remain in effect until August 18, 2020 or until 45 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency, whichever comes first. The Governor can extend the end date of the moratorium so that it does not end before the end of the state of emergency.

For Tenants

How does the law protect me?

The law temporarily stops most evictions. For evictions covered by the law your landlord is not allowed to send you any eviction notices. They must not send you a: Notice to Quit, 14-day notice, 30-day notice, Notice to vacate, or any other kind of notice that says you must move out. Your landlord cannot file a new eviction case against you in court, for: non-payment of rent, no-fault/no cause, or most cause reasons.

Courts cannot schedule hearings or other events in court. Courts cannot enter judgments, including “agreements for judgment” or default judgments. Courts cannot issue orders to evict, “executions.”

Landlords are not allowed to give executions to sheriffs to serve “48 hour notices.” Sheriffs, constables and movers must not physically move you out of your home. These protections may not apply if your landlord claims you were involved in criminal activity or lease violations that endangered the health and safety of others.

What if I already had an eviction case in court before the moratorium was passed?

Your case is covered by the moratorium as long as your landlord does not claim there was criminal activity or lease violations endangering the health/safety of others. For eviction cases covered by the law: all deadlines in your case are put on hold as long as the moratorium is in effect, no court hearings can be scheduled, courts cannot enter judgments, including agreements for judgment, or issue orders to evict, “executions", and Sheriffs and movers cannot move you out of your home.

Do I still owe rent?

You are still responsible for paying your rent. See Where can I get help paying my rent? If you have an emergency, like if your landlord tries to lock you out, you can still call the court for help. See information about illegal evictions or utility shutoffs.

Can my landlord charge me a late fee if I miss the rent?

In order to avoid having to pay late fees or receiving a negative credit report, the law requires tenants to send a form of hardship notice to their landlord within 30 days of every missed rent payment. That means if a tenant missed paying rent due April 1, the tenant must send the form by April 30 (3 days from now). One form must be filled out for each month of missed payment. If a tenant is unable to fill out and transmit the form, they can also email or post a letter to the landlord with the same information.

For Homeowners and Landlords

I am a homeowner or a landlord. How does this moratorium protect me?

Lenders cannot foreclose on owner-occupied 1-4 family residential properties. If you ask your lender to “pause” mortgage payments because you have been affected by COVID-19, lenders must agree to put you in a “mortgage forbearance” program. The forbearance program can last up to 180 days, and fees, penalties, and interest should not accrue during that time. All missed payments should be added to the end of the loan. If you are a homeowner and you are in mortgage forbearance, your lender is not allowed to report negative remarks to any credit reporting agency. If you are a landlord you may use your tenants' last month's rent to cover expenses, but you must repay these funds with interest. 

The law allows the landlord to use last month’s rent to pay for certain expenses including, but not limited to, mortgage payments, utilities, repairs and required upkeep. However the landlord must send a form of notice to the tenant when doing so. The form is here.

Though the law prevents landlords from sending Notices to Quit (Evict), the regulations allow for sending notice of past rent due (arrearages) provided that each notice must include the following language, prominently on the first page.

The Division of Banks has also put out a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding the moratorium on foreclosures. 

For Small Business Tenants

Similar to residential tenants, small businesses are also not subject to late fees or negative credit bureau reporting if they submit a form of notice to their landlord within 30 days of missed rent payment. Small businesses must submit two forms:

1)      A certification of hardship

2)      Back up documentation