New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Expands Its Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to Assist More New Jersey Families Struggling to Pay Rent Due to COVID-19
TRENTON – Today, the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency (NJHMFA) announced the expansion and reopening of its Small Landlord Emergency Grant (SLEG) Program to assist vulnerable renters across the state by covering their missed rent from April through July 2020. The program will reopen today, Monday, September 28th, at noon and will run until Tuesday, October 13th at 4:00 p.m. NJHMFA, whose mission is to increase the availability of and accessibility to safe, decent, and affordable housing to families in New Jersey, developed the SLEG Program to reimburse small landlords for missed or reduced rent payments between April 2020 and July 2020 due to COVID-19. Landlords approved for a grant must forgive any back rent or late fees incurred by their tenants.
“Whether they are tenants or landlords, many of New Jersey’s families are hurting in the ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic. No one should be struggling to keep a roof over their head during this crisis,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program is critical to ensuring the recovery of these families as we rebuild New Jersey’s economy together. Governor Murphy and I encourage every eligible landlord to apply for this COVID-19 relief program.”
“Since April, New Jersey landlords have filed 30,000 eviction cases in Landlord-Tenant court. Although Governor Murphy has enacted an eviction moratorium to protect residents from being locked out of their homes for nonpayment of rent, this alarming number demonstrates that many New Jerseyans are struggling to pay rent,” said Charles A. Richman, Executive Director of New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. “Our goal with the SLEG Program is to mitigate hardship for as many landlords and tenants as possible in the current economic crisis. To this end, we have made some small but significant adjustments to the program to increase both eligibility and accessibility. Not only will we reach more renters in need, but we have also removed some of the barriers for landlords to apply.”
To be eligible for the 2nd round of the SLEG Program:
- Applicants must own a residential property in New Jersey with 3 to 30 rental units;
- Applicants must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Bureau of Housing Inspection;
- The property must not be a seasonal or vacation rental property;
- The property must have at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020;
- The property must have low-to-moderate income rent levels.
$15 million in CARES Act funding has been allocated to fund the first and second rounds of the SLEG Program. All completed eligible applications will be randomly sorted by computer to give each applicant an equal chance of being funded. Grant funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis, based on the number of COVID-impacted units and the amount of missed rent. A list of all successful landlord applicants will be posted to the NJHMFA website, and letters will be sent to all tenants of awarded landlords.
There is a range of tools available on NJHMFA’s website to assist property owners in preparing their applications. These include an application checklist, an annotated application with sample answers, and a Frequently Asked Questions list. The application is available in both English and Spanish, and NJHMFA has contracted interpretation services to support speakers of at least 10 additional languages: Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog. Applicants can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a call within one business day from a representative who can communicate with them in their primary language. Potential applicants with specific questions can call NJHMFA’s toll-free hotline at 866-280-9756 or email email@example.com .
NJHMFA has been a leader in the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing opportunities for families, seniors and special needs residents statewide through its loan financing and bond programs; mortgage, down payment and closing costs assistance; and the award of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. NJHMFA does not rely on any direct funding from the New Jersey State Treasury to meet its core operating or administrative expenses. For more information on NJHMFA, visit njhousing.gov.