A NorthJersey.com article published on Nov. 24 takes a look into the failure of the state’s “Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program” any why fewer landlords applied for the aid than anticipated.
As the publication reports, the state cut funding for the program by 60 percent and only approved a fraction of the applicants who applied for a grant. Speaking as an advocate for landlords, attorney Derek Reed of Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C. told the publication that he thinks the program’s complex application process deterred a lot of small landlords from applying in the first place and caused many others from being approved, who otherwise should have been approved.
“The program is extremely complicated and cumbersome almost to the point where folks have given up trying to get the money,” Reed is quoted in NorthJersey.com as saying. “I’ve been made aware of landlords having issues with denials and trying to get in touch with somebody, and can’t get anybody on the phone.”
During the summer, New Jersey lawmakers originally earmarked $25 million to help small landlords and their tenants – ostensibly financially impacted by COVID-19. NorthJersey.com reports that as of Nov. 23, only $3.8 million in funding has been approved for 745 applicants, of which only $960,000 has actually been paid out – averaging about $5,000 for each grant.
While tens of thousands of tenants aren’t paying the rent they owe to their landlords – and while a bill threatens to hold back landlords’ full compensation for up to two and a half years – more than half of the Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program remains in the state’s coffers. To make matters worse for property owners and tenants alike, the program and its funds dissolve at the end of the year.
“Small landlords are getting crushed, having to pay property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintaining the property — all while not getting rent,” Reed told NorthJersey.com.
For more information about this issue or to inquire about legal service from Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C., please contact us online or call (973) 828-0203.