Since the beginning of the pandemic, the New Jersey Apartment Association (NJAA) understood that a tenant’s ability to pay rent could be impacted by the massive changes brought on by COVID-19. Working with lawmakers, the NJAA successfully lobbied the state to provide rental assistance to low-income tenants.

Consequently, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) received over $1 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance funds, which are being used to assist eligible families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected families may be eligible for one of three programs.

Why Was the Emergency Rental Assistance Program Created?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, low- and moderate-income households were unable to pay rent. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program, often known as ERA, was created to provide help to such households.

Can You Currently Apply to the New Jersey Rental Assistance Program?

The NJ Department of Community Affairs webpage portal is only open right now for pre-applications which will be added to a waiting list. Applicants may receive assistance when further financing becomes available.

Please follow the application procedures provided by DCA if you submitted a pre-application before the ERA waiting list’s initial closing on December 15, 2021, and the agency notified you. Pre-applications can still be filled out at the NJ Department of Community Affairs webpage if you have not done so before and need assistance with your rent, arrears, or upcoming rent payments.

Can the Eviction Prevention Program Help You?

What exactly is the Eviction Prevention Program (EEP)? It is an extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, intended to help tenants and landlords who have suffered significant economic losses.

These losses could have occurred due to circumstances beyond the tenants’ or landlords’ control. The assistance is provided to ensure a sense of security and stability for families and entire communities. This program also helps landlords recoup rental income, allowing them to provide quality housing in a safe and efficient manner.

Who is currently eligible for EPP assistance? In this case, the portal at the NJ Department of Community Affairs webpage is only open for pre-applications. These applications will be placed on a waiting list. If additional funding for the program is received, these applicants may qualify to receive aid.

Eligibility Requirements for Tenant Applications of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Understanding all of the requirements for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program can be difficult. Many specific stipulations have been put in place. This has been done to ensure that no one abuses or takes advantage of the program. We will briefly address the most important conditions which you should know can pertain to your application.

Who can apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program?

New Jersey households who meet the following conditions can apply. Applicants should:

  1. Meet the criteria for unemployment benefits
  2. Have had their household income significantly reduced, expenses significantly increased, or are experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the region’s median
  4. Are at risk of homelessness or housing instability

Do I need legal immigration status to be eligible for assistance?

No. Households can apply even if they do not have legal immigration status.

Can I leave the unit if I get assistance?

No. You are not permitted to move your residence if you receive assistance from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Can I receive additional rental assistance while receiving financial aid from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program?

No. Households receiving a subsidy from another rental assistance program, such as Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) or Public Housing, will be ineligible for ERA support. This is the case if the aid results in duplicate benefits for the same months of assistance.

However, you may apply for other rental help. The important detail is that, if you have been awarded ERA assistance, your aid will end if you are awarded other renting assistance from another source.

What documentation do I need to submit when I apply for the New Jersey rental assistance program?

You must have documentation to verify your identity. This documentation can be the following:

  • Passport
  • State or county-issued ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card (if one has been issued to a household member)
  • Birth certificate

How do I provide evidence that I am an active renter?

As part of the application process, you must provide documentation that you are currently an active renter. The following documents may be accepted by the NJDCA as additional forms of verification in addition to the self-attestation that is required as proof of current renter status:

  • Signed lease
  • Tenant agreement
  • Property owner certification
  • Documentation of residence, such as utility bills
  • Verification by a property owner who can be confirmed as the actual owner or managing agent of the unit

How do I show proof of financial hardship?

Documentation of financial hardship must be provided. This evidence needs to show circumstances such as a decrease in income or the need to make large purchases as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This documentation could be one of the following:

  • Letter from your employer stating reduced wages or termination
  • Letter stating your layoff from your employer
  • Copy of unemployment on benefits obtained in the prior 30 days
  • Notice of business closure on your employer’s website
  • Letter from a healthcare provider establishing your being sick and inability to participate at work

The New Jersey Rental Assistance Program Can Help You With Housing Problems Caused by COVID-19

Every month, people throughout New Jersey struggle to afford their rent, mortgage, or housing loan payments. The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to have an impact on millions of people throughout the state, either directly or indirectly. This unprecedented economic and public health issue has developed into a catastrophic housing disaster for many.

You are not alone if you are having difficulty paying your rent and utilities. Hundreds of families have been able to get a measure of relief and assistance through the New Jersey Rental Assistance Program.

If you have any questions about how to get this assistance or how a personal injury settlement may affect your financial benefits, please get in touch with Judd Shaw Injury Law. You can reach our representatives 24/7.

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Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.