Tag Archives: Brad A. Molotsky

COVID-19: NJ HMFA provides Small Landlord Emergency Grant availability for COVID-19 Impact – Round 2 Funding

Earlier this morning on 9-29-20, 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 NJ 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 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.

“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:

1. Applicants must own a residential property in New Jersey with 3 to 30 rental units;

2. Applicants must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Bureau of Housing Inspection;

3. The property must not be a seasonal or vacation rental property;

4. The property must have at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020;

5. 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 are 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.

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, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

NJ enacts broad sweeping Environmental Justice Bill – S232 – ESG Focused

On September 18, Governor Murphy signed into law S232 / A2212 (Singleton / Weinberg / Ruiz / McKeon / Vainieri Huttle / Timberlake), which requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to consider the cumulative impacts of locating new power plants or major manufacturing facilities in certain lower-income areas.

Per the press release announcing the Bill signing, S2322 is intended to tackle the complex issue of assuring a healthy environment in certain urban communities.

The Bill requires the NJDEP to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of certain facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to require mandatory permit denials if an environmental justice analysis determines a new facility will have a disproportionately negative impact on overburdened communities.
 
The bill defines an overburdened community as any community where 35% of the households qualify as low-income according to the U.S. Census, 40% of households are minority, or 40%of households have limited English proficiency. There are approximately 310 municipalities with populations totaling approximately 4,489,000 that have overburdened communities within their municipalities.
 
The Bill requires the DEP to evaluate the environmental and public health impacts of the following facilities on overburdened communities when reviewing the following permit applications:
  1. Major sources of air pollution (i.e., gas fired power plants and cogeneration facilities);
  2. Resource recovery facilities or incinerators; sludge processing facilities;
  3. Sewage treatment plants with a capacity of more than 50 Million gallons per day;
  4. Transfer stations or solid waste facilities;
  5. Recycling facilities that receive at least 100 tons of recyclable material per day;
  6. Scrap metal facilities;
  7. Landfills; and
  8. Medical waste incinerators, except those attendant to hospitals and universities.
“For decades, residents living in overburdened communities have had their lives routinely and inconveniently interrupted by the toxic facilities located in their neighborhoods,”  said Senator Troy Singleton. “Their daily routines have been intertwined with the unpleasant smells of industry, unsightly smoke from pollution, and untimely visits to the emergency room for asthma and other respiratory ailments. Now, after years of having no say, these communities will finally have a voice in the siting of these industries. After years of waiting for action, this long overdue law will bring them the environmental justice that they deserve.” 
 
“As a statewide and regional hub of industry, commerce, innovation and energy, the impact of the legacy of environmental contamination is real and present in New Jersey. This historic legislation is a model to show the rest of the Country how to ensure that communities are protected and how by utilizing both activism and leadership simultaneously, you can truly change the status quo,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka, City of Newark. “I applaud the leadership of our State policymakers for making this law come to fruition, and we give our thanks to Governor Murphy for making environmental justice central to his administration.”
 
To read the text of the Governor’s press release – click here  https://t.e2ma.net/message/z8iqpd/rq338ni
 

Duane Morris has an Environmental Team to help organizations and individuals plan, respond to and address their environmental contracting, due diligence, compliance and permitting issues. 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, Lori Mills, Seth Cooley, Lindsay Ann Brown or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: The IRS adds additional forms that can be signed electronically on or before 12-31-2020 in connection with the Pandemic

On August 28, the IRS announced that it would temporarily allow the use of digital signatures on certain forms that cannot be filed electronically. As of September 11, 2020, they added several more forms to that list.

According to the NJ Business and Industry Association, the IRS made this decision to help protect the health of taxpayers and tax professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The permission to file electronically is intended to reduce in-person contact and lessen the risk to taxpayers and tax professionals, allowing both groups to work remotely to timely file forms.

The IRS added the following forms to the list of those being accepted digitally:

Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return;
Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons;
Form 3520, Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts; and
Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust With a U.S. Owner.
The forms are available at IRS.gov and through tax professional’s software products. These forms cannot be e-filed and generally are printed and mailed.

Per the BIA, the below list was announced August 28, and all of these forms can be submitted with digital signatures if mailed by or on December 31, 2020:

Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method;
Form 8832, Entity Classification Election;
Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification;
Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit;
Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return For Regulated Investment Companies;
Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations;
Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts;
Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return;
Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return; and
Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms.

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 Michael Gillen (Head of TAG Group), Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: PA to allow 50% indoor dining capability effective 9-21-2020

Earlier today on September 8, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that restaurants in Pennsylvania will be allowed to increase their indoor seating capacity to 50%, effective Sept. 21.

The 25% indoor restriction has been in place since July, 2020.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, it is not clear whether Philadelphia County will make the increase to 50% capacity considering it just beginning to reopen indoor dining at 25% on Tuesday following a nearly a six-month closure.

To qualify to be able to open at 50% occupancy, restaurants will be required to self-certify that they comply with all public safety guidelines. The self-certification process is an on line process and will appear in a special database available online. There will also be special branded material, including window clings and other signs, that show certification.

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.

COVID-19: FHA Extends Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium for Homeowners through 12-31-2020

Per HUD, earlier today, on August 28, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the 3rd extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020, for homeowners with FHA-insured single family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This extension provides an additional 4 months of housing security to homeowners. With this 3rd extension, the FHA has now provided more than 9 months of foreclosure and eviction relief to FHA-insured homeowners

The FHA’s Single Family foreclosure and eviction moratorium has been in place since March 18, 2020, and continues to apply to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages.

The moratorium requires that mortgage servicers:

1. Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process for FHA-insured single family properties, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties; and

2. Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single family properties, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties.

The HUD press release suggested that homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages should continue to make their mortgage payments during the foreclosure and eviction moratorium if they are able to do so, or seek mortgage payment forbearance pursuant to the CARES Act from their mortgage servicer, if needed.

Pursuant to the CARES Act, the FHA requires mortgage servicers to:

1. Offer borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages delayed mortgage payment forbearance when the borrower requests it, with the option to extend the forbearance for up to a year.

2. The FHA does not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance period.

3. Assess borrowers who receive COVID-19 forbearance for its special COVID-19 National Emergency Stand alone Partial Claim before the end of the forbearance period. The COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim puts all deferred mortgage payment amounts owed into a junior lien which is only repaid when the borrower sells the home, refinances the mortgage, or the mortgage is otherwise extinguished.

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.

COVID-19: NJ announces reopening of Gyms and Indoor Amusement Facilities – 9-1-20

As of today, August 26, 2020, Governor Murphy announced the reopening of gyms and indoor amusement facilities effective as of September 1, 2020. Reopening will include a 25% of capacity limitation and typical safety protocols including masks, social distancing, one way traffic, etc.

Per a press release from Planet Fitness as reported in NJ Patch, “Fitness centers are critical to the mental, physical and financial health for New Jerseyans, and we are grateful that Governor Murphy has announced that we can reopen with safety protocols in place,” said Craig Benson, who operates 18 Planet Fitness locations in the state. “Throughout the reopening process, we will continue to collaborate with local, county and state health officials to ensure that our members can work out again in a safe, clean, and welcoming environment, and our staff can get back to work.”

With respect to gyms:

  • group fitness classes are to be limited to 1 person per 200 SF of space;
  • logs are to be maintained for members and staff;
  • 6′ of distance between pieces of equipment;
  • required sanitization of equipment; and
  • showers are NOT permitted to be open

Many gyms and eating establishments will look to include some or all of the following in their safety protocols:

◦Limited capacity to comply with social distancing;

◦Advanced air filtration systems with high-grade filters;

◦Masks required at all times;

◦Well-stocked cleaning stations with hand sanitizer;

◦Posters explaining best-health practices displayed throughout the facility or gym; 

◦High-tech electrostatic disinfecting sprayers for the tables and gyms as well as equipment;

◦One-way flow for foot traffic;

◦Temperature checks for staff members at the start of each shift in addition to health questionnaire;

◦Touchless check-in;

◦Cleaning of tables and/or machines before and after each use; and

◦ Having an ample supply of PPE equipment for staff and members including masks and gloves.

Indoor dining and movie theatres are expected to be reopened on or before September 14th.

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, Paul Josephson, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

Cannabis: Governor Wolf calls on PA Legislature to pass a Recreational Cannabis Bill; $1B of CARES relief

Earlier today, August 25, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana and use the tax revenue to help small businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Gov. Wolf’s proposal on recreational marijuana was part of a package unveiled to spend the $1 billion remaining out of $3.6 billion CARES Act funding. The Governor called for a range of spending that would include $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and another $100 million for restaurants and bars, hospitality and leisure businesses that have taken a big hit since March with business closures and occupancy restrictions.

Tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana would add to the state’s small business funding and half would go to historically disadvantaged businesses.

While the recreational marijuana legalization was NOT tied to CARES Act funding, Gov. Wolf in the news conference said legalization would add even more money to the programs that Pennsylvania residents and businesses would need to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 hit to the economy.

His proposals for the remaining CARES Act funding would also include paid family and sick leave for all Pennsylvanians while announcing six weeks for all state employees; $225 million more in hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million to help employers pay for the cost of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies; and $250 million more in child care investments.

Governor Wolf also wants the alcohol tax to be canceled or reduced for 6 months and also allow bars, restaurants and other hospitality industries to buy alcohol at cost for six months.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. We also have a Cannabis Practice Group that in active in the cannabis regulatory, licensing, IP, real estate and fund raising aspects of the cannabis industry. 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, Tracy A. Gallegos, Paul Josephson, Seth Goldberg, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe

COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift indoor dining (and theatre and movie) ban on September 8th

As of September 8, 2020, Philadelphia will allow indoor dining at restaurants.

Key elements of the dining restrictions include:

1.  Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25% capacity.

2.  No more than 4 diners per table.

3.  Tables must be arranged so that diners at separate tables are at least 6 feet apart or have an impermeable barrier between them.

The indoor dining ban will lift a day after Labor Day in an attempt to avoid holiday crowds. Indoor dining has been banned since mid-March.

Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, restaurant owners are also being urged to increase ventilation in their establishments to further decrease the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Outdoor dining is permitted to continue under current restrictions, including having no more than 50 people outside.

Other restrictions will include:

1.  Servers must wear both masks and face shields for additional protection.

2.  Continuation of no bar service.

3.  Alcohol can be served only for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

4.  Last call for all indoor dining orders will be at 11 p.m. and establishments will be required to be closed for service by midnight.

5.  Restaurants must install physical barriers such as sneeze guards or partitions in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers, host stands, and food pick-up areas where maintaining physical distance of at least six feet is difficult.

6.  Restaurants are required to  screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on-site if they have a cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell.

Indoor theaters and movie theaters will also be allowed to reopen on Sept. 8 with venues not to exceed 50% capacity, with a maximum of 25 people allowed.

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, Eve Klein, Jonathan Segal, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

Virginia enacts Clean Economy Act – Renewable Energy Standards and Carbon Free Future Achievable

On August 17, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (the “VCE Act”), which establishes mandatory energy efficiency standards and provides a pathway for new investments in solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, and energy storage.

Additional legislation advances the shared solar and energy storage program and  transforms Virginia’s rooftop solar market.

“We are at a pivotal moment to secure an affordable, clean energy future in Virginia,” said Governor Northam. “Together, these pieces of legislation put the Commonwealth in position to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, and lead the transition to renewable energy in a way that captures the economic, environmental, and health benefits for all Virginians.”

The VCE Act establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard (“RPS”) to attempt to achieve a 30% renewable energy composition by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency standard, and the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2045.

The VCE Act also declares that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in the public interest.

The Governor also signed additional legislation that:

  1. directs the State Corporation Commission to determine when electric utilities should retire coal-fired or natural gas-fired electric generation facilities and how utility customers should pay for this transition;
  2. supports new investments in solar energy, including the Solar Freedom bill, which will help grow the rooftop solar market in Virginia;
  3. establishes a shared solar program which will allow communities to receive credit for the solar energy they generate through a subscriber system. With a minimum requirement of 30% low-income customers, this program is intended to enable Virginians to participate in the benefits of generating solar energy on their homes; and
  4. will build an energy storage market in Virginia

Duane Morris has an industry facing Energy Practice Group to help individuals and organizations plan, respond to, and address the ever changing landscape of renewables, fossil fuels, pipelines, power plants, and the transmission and generation of energy. 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, Patrick Morand, Sheila Hollis, Brad Thompson or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: NJ announces Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program

On August 11, Governor Murphy announced the first phase of the NJ Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program (the “PPE Program”). The goal of the PPE Program is to provide small businesses and non-profits with access to the fairly priced personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to facilitate safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the PPE Program’s first phase, the State will launch a new website that provides micro and small businesses with the information needed to make easier and better PPE sourcing decision. The website will also offer a vetted list of online retailers that have agreed to verify the quality of the PPE they are selling and offer at least a 10% discount to businesses who enter through the State’s website.

Online retailers will be vetted on a first-come, first serve basis by the NJEDA, and must agree to certain performance standards for their site (e.g., transparent pricing, high-quality products, etc.). Vetted online retailers will also be eligible to access an NJDEA grant pool of up to $3.5M to support the purchase of PPE that is manufactured in New Jersey or sourced from a small wholesaler based in a historically underserved community.

Applications to become one of the NJ PPE Access Program Designated Vendors are expected to open in the near future.

Guidelines for practically all sectors require businesses to provide PPE to their employees. This new NJEDA program is geared toward smaller-sized businesses that have few funds to spare for the new costs.

This first phase of $4 million in funding is meant to encourage wholesalers’ purchase of PPE made or assembled in New Jersey. They would be eligible for subsidies of up to 20 percent of what they spent to get the equipment if it’s sourced in New Jersey, or from wholesalers in “historically underserved communities.”

A second funding, of approximately $11 million, is meant to cover the costs for smaller-sized and microbusinesses to purchase the equipment. The NJEDA expects 50,000 separate New Jersey businesses to spend a combined $45 million on PPE, with support from the new state subsidy.

Interested parties can also reach out to NJEDA staff at:  www.SmallBusinessPPE@njeda.com.

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!