COVID-19: NJ makes $25M CARES funds available for certain Small Landlords – applications open on August 19th

Today, August 7th, Governor Murphy announced the Small Landlord Emergency Grant (SLEG) Program, which will reimburse small residential rental property owners for lost rent revenue due to COVID-19 between April and July 2020. The program is structured to pass the benefit on to their tenants by requiring foregiveness of certain outstanding back rent and late fees.  The rent foregiveness is in exchange for landlords receiving these funds from NJ.

The goal of the program is to create some level of stability between landlords and impacted tenants in order to enable housing to continue to be proided to the applicable tenants.

The Program will reimburse small landlords for rent payments that were missed or reduced in April, May, June, and/or July 2020. Only properties with low-to-moderate rent levels are eligible (see Eligibility Criteria below for more information). 

Please note: grantees must pass the benefit on to their tenants by forgiving outstanding back rent and late fees for COVID-impacted units for the April-July 2020 period.

Eligibility:

 

To be eligible for the SLEG Program, the applicant and the applicant’s rental property have to meet the eligibility criteria. 

The applicant must:

  • – Be the Primary Property Owner of a residential rental property (i.e., not condominium or cooperative) property in New Jersey and registered as such with New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (NJDCA) on the Bureau of Housing Inspection Registration Inspection Management System (RIMS) database. You must be registered as of July 17, 2020.
  • – NOT be a government entity or public housing authority.  
  • – Be current on all state and local tax obligations.  

The applicant’s property must:

  • – Contain at least 3 and no more than 10 total housing units. 
  • – NOT be a seasonal or vacation rental property.  
  • – Have a fire inspection certificate, current as of March 9, 2020, from the Local Enforcement Agency responsible for fire safety. 
  • – Contain at least one non-vacant COVID-impacted unit with a net rent deficit between April and July 2020. This means that the total rent due from the tenant in this four-month period exceeds the rent the landlord received during this period.
  • – Rents charged to COVID-impacted unit(s) are no greater than the maximum rent thresholds listed in the table below. If a unit has an above-threshold rent for its bedroom size, that unit is ineligible for assistance

Maximum Rent Thresholds by Bedroom Size

County of Rental Property

Studio

1-Bedroom

2-Bedroom

3-Bedroom

4-Bedroom

5-Bedroom

Atlantic County

1,182

1,266

1,518

1,754

1,956

2,159

Bergen County

1,504

1,611

1,932

2,232

2,490

2,748

Burlington County

1,354

1,450

1,740

2,010

2,242

2,474

Camden County

1,354

1,450

1,740

2,010

2,242

2,474

Cape May County

1,202

1,288

1,546

1,785

1,992

2,197

Cumberland County

1,028

1,102

1,322

1,527

1,704

1,880

Essex County

1,496

1,603

1,924

2,222

2,478

2,735

Gloucester County

1,354

1,450

1,740

2,010

2,242

2,474

Hudson County

1,382

1,480

1,776

2,051

2,288

2,525

Hunterdon County

1,674

1,793

2,152

2,486

2,774

3,060

Mercer County

1,564

1,676

2,012

2,324

2,592

2,861

Middlesex County

1,674

1,793

2,152

2,486

2,774

3,060

Monmouth County

1,532

1,642

1,970

2,276

2,540

2,802

Morris County

1,496

1,603

1,924

2,222

2,478

2,735

Ocean County

1,532

1,642

1,970

2,276

2,540

2,802

Passaic County

1,504

1,611

1,932

2,232

2,490

2,748

Salem County

1,354

1,450

1,740

2,010

2,242

2,474

Somerset County

1,674

1,793

2,152

2,486

2,774

3,060

Sussex County

1,496

1,603

1,924

2,222

2,478

2,735

Union County

1,496

1,603

1,924

2,222

2,478

2,735

Warren County

1,448

1,552

1,862

2,151

2,400

2,648

 

Grant Award Amounts:

NJHMFA has been allocated a total of $25 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to administer the SLEG Program. There are no preset minimum or maximum award amounts for this program. The grant award amount will be calculated on the basis of the number of eligible, COVID-impacted units in the property and the net rent deficit for each eligible unit for the four-month period between April and July 2020. 

To ensure that the SLEG Program serves “mom-and-pop” property owners vulnerable to financial stress during COVID-19, at least one-third of program funds will be reserved for those applicants who are registered in the NJDCA RIMS database as individual or family owners.

Application Process:

 

Applicants will be required to create an account on the SLEG application platform using a valid email address.

After creating an account, the applicant may create and submit an application for their rental property. If the applicant has multiple eligible properties, they can submit a separate application for each property under their single applicant account. Each application requires several pieces of information, listed on the Application Checklist.

Review Process:

An annotated version of the application will be available for preview beginning on August 10. The application portal will launch at 9 AM on Wednesday, August 19 and stay open until 1 PM on Wednesday, August 26. At this point, all applications received will be sorted randomly by computer and reviewed in that random order. Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. NJHMFA will use the documentation provided to verify information entered into the web form and will alert the applicant of any issues with documentation to give them an opportunity to cure. Applicants will have 5 business days to cure outstanding documentation.

Applicants will be notified through the application portal whether their application has been selected for award, placed on a waitlist, or denied. All applicants that are selected for award will have 5 business days to upload their banking details, a W-9, and any additional information required to the application portal for subsequent electronic payment.

After payment is disbursed, tenants residing in units that have been assisted by the program will receive a letter from NJHMFA alerting them that their landlord has received a SLEG grant.

For more information on the program please click on this link which will take you to NJHMFA’s site outlining the program –  https://njhousing.gov/rentals/sleg/

Please note that the application period begins August 19 and ends August 26.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!