To offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey lawmakers now require all landlords to accept credit card payments. Although allowing tenants to pay rent by any means necessary will ultimately benefit landlords, getting set up could cause what New Jersey 101.5FM calls “headaches” for landlords who don’t yet have a system in place.
The law went into effect immediately after being signed by Governor Phil Murphy on January 4 and will last until 1 year after the public health emergency caused by COVID-19 has ended. In the language of Assembly, No. 4182:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many New Jersey residents and businesses to endure prolonged depletions of income. This bill ensures that the State’s tenants are provided with sufficient options for rent payment during this emergency and its aftermath.”
Under the new law, tenants will be responsible for all transaction fees, as well as “chargebacks” from declined payments and credit card fraud.
The law also has exemptions for residential hotels and motels, properties with 2 units or fewer, and owner-occupied premises with less than 4 units. Still, setting up the infrastructure may be beneficial for all types of landlords.
‘A Difficult Situation’
While tenants have lost jobs and suffered financial hardships, landlords have also suffered due to nonpayment of rent. As our very own Attorney Derek Reed puts it:
“If the tenant's not paying rent, both the landlord and the tenant are in a difficult position.”
Some tenants who have no other means of payment may find credit cards useful, and landlords who have their systems set up will be glad to accept income during this difficult time. Larger housing providers may be ready to accept credit card payments already, but small-to-medium operations may have some catching up to do.
‘A Positive Development’
Nevertheless, credit card payments give tenants the chance to pay rent when they might not be able to do so otherwise. Attorney Reed explains:
“There might be some growing pains associated with [getting up to speed] …In the end, I think it's a positive development to have tenants pay rent by any means ... It looks like it's going to help both parties.”
As a former president of the New Jersey Property Owners Association and the organization’s current legal counsel, Attorney Reed has a spot-on understanding of the new law. The sections and exemptions associated with the Assembly make it a fair trade-off for landlords, big and small, and tenants looking for alternative ways to pay rent during the COVID-19 crisis.
Serving New Jersey’s Landlords
Since 1955, the attorneys of Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed have been protecting the interests of our clients, among them New Jersey landlords. Attorney Reed is a wonderful representation of our experienced legal team, and we are always ready to help with landlord/tenant law and many other practice areas.
If you need effective and unwavering legal advocacy during a complex or complicated legal matter, you can trust Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C.
Call us at (973) 828-0203 or contact us online for client-focused representation from reputable, award-winning lawyers.
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