As of August 2, 2021, all state Court locations will open to the public and as of September 7, 2021, the Judiciary will increase to 100% on-site staff presence in all state Court locations. In addition, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued Orders changing the eviction process in New Jersey and authorizing the resumption of landlord tenant trials. Although the moratorium on evictions (lockouts) remains until December 31, 2021, the Court will be scheduling mandatory settlement conferences and trials. Please click the link HERE for a copy of the Court’s Orders.
The changes made to the eviction process were based upon a report of the Judiciary Special Committee on Landlord Tenant, chaired by acting Administrative Director of the Courts, Judge Glenn A. Grant. FRKBG’s Tracey Goldstein, Esquire was selected to serve on the Committee along with NJAA and other attorneys, including tenant advocates. Some important changes proposed by Tracey were adopted and the final Order is a significant improvement over what was originally proposed. The Court believes these changes provide greater opportunities for the parties to work with trained staff to resolve disputes without a trial.
In sum, proceedings will be held primarily in a remote fashion but can be in-person on a limited basis, when appropriate. Courthouses will be equipped with technology rooms to enable participation for those who need assistance. Landlords and tenants will now be required to file a Case Information Statement (a document seeking basic information about the case). The Landlord Case Information Statement is signed by and certified by the attorney, not the Landlord. Landlords are required to file the lease, certificate of registration, and rent control registration (if requested by the Court) five days before a mandatory settlement conference. Please click the link HERE for more information regarding the mandatory settlement conference. Prior to trial, Court staff will review cases that involve public and subsidized housing and holdover cases to determine compliance with notice requirements and other aspects of the law. Cases involving nonpayment of rent of market rate tenants will not be reviewed. Landlords will be given the opportunity to cure deficiencies in a filing. Any case not resolved at the mandatory settlement conference will be scheduled for a remote trial. However, on the trial date, the Court will attempt to settle the case before proceeding to trial. The Court created a document entitled Landlord Tenant Procedures, which outlines the new process and will be served upon tenants along with the Complaint. Please click HERE for a copy of it.
If, after a trial, the landlord prevails, a judgment for possession will enter but the lockout is still stayed until the eviction moratorium is lifted. All new Court forms are expected to be available by September 1, 2021 when trials are expected to resume.
S-3691 is legislation that was passed by both the NJ Senate and Assembly, and is sitting on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. For many, this legislation would end the moratorium on lockouts prior to December 31, 2021. FRKB&G and the Judiciary are monitoring this legislation. The Judiciary will make adjustments as necessary in light of any action by the Governor. FRKB&G will keep you updated on this important legislation.
Tracey Goldstein, Esquire will be presenting seminars on these significant changes to the eviction process on August 14, 2021 (sponsored by the New Jersey Bar Association) and at the JAHMA Conference in Atlantic City on September 27, 2021. More information regarding these seminars will be forthcoming and FRKB&G will continue to update you on any new developments.
This information is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable to all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based upon particular circumstances. Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.