Senator BRIAN P. STACK
District 33 (Hudson)
Requires landlords to allow tenants to pay rent up to three business days after eviction order or lockout is executed and accept rent payments by any means.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on June 3, 2019, with amendments.
An Act concerning tenant payment of rent to landlords, and supplementing P.L.1974, c.47 (C.2A:42-10.15 et seq.) and Title 46 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. In an eviction action for nonpayment of rent, pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.1974, c.49 (C.2A:18-61.1), the court shall provide a period of three business days after the date on which 1[an eviction order or] a warrant for removal is posted to the unit or a1 lockout is executed due to 1[late payment] nonpayment1 of rent, for 1[all tenants] the tenant1 to submit a rent payment. A late fee shall not be imposed 1in excess of the amount set forth in the application for a warrant for removal1 if 1all1 rent 1due and owing1 is paid 1[on or before the third business day after the day on which the eviction order or lockout is executed] within the three business day period established by this subsection1.
b. 1(1)1 A landlord shall 1[be required to]1 accept all payments of rent made by a tenant within the three business day period established by subsection a. of this section and 1[shall be required to relinquish control of the property to the tenant] upon payment of the rent due and owing, within two business days thereafter, the landlord shall provide the court with written notice that the rent due and owing was paid. A copy of this notice shall be provided to the tenant.
(2) Upon receipt of the written notice as provided in this subsection, the court shall dismiss with prejudice the action for nonpayment of rent.
(3) If the tenant makes a timely payment within the three business day period established by subsection a. of this section, and the landlord fails to provide the court with written notice of the rent payment, the tenant may file a motion to dismiss with prejudice the action for nonpayment of rent upon notice to the landlord1.
2. a. A landlord shall 1[be required to]1 accept a rent payment made 1[by any means, including but not limited to cash payments, personal checks, or payments made by third parties such as rental assistance programs or charitable organizations] within the three business day period established by subsection a. of section 1 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), whether made by cash, certified check, or money order, or through any federal, State, or local rental assistance program or bona fide charitable organization1 on behalf of the tenant. A landlord shall 1[provide a signature on any forms or documents required for a tenant to secure rental assistance from a third party. A landlord shall not deny payment of rent due to the means by which the payment is made] cooperate with any federal, State, or local rental assistance program or bona fide charitable organization which has committed to pay the rent due and owing1. If a landlord does not respond to a tenant’s efforts to resolve the issue of late payment through a third party, the tenant may seek a remedy by requesting an order to show cause.
b. A landlord shall provide the tenant with a receipt after each rent payment 1is1 made 1within the three business day period established by subsection a. of section 1 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill),1 which shall include the date on which the payment was made.
c. In the event that a landlord 1of a rent-controlled property1 is entitled to recover attorney’s fees or expenses under the lease agreement, incurred as a result of the failure of the tenant to 1[perform any agreement in the lease] pay rent due and owing, unless otherwise limited by local ordinance1, the 1court shall take into consideration all factors associated with each case and may limit the1 amount awarded to the landlord 1[shall not exceed 30 percent of the attorney’s fees and expenses paid by the landlord] to a reasonable fee based on those factors1.
d. A landlord who violates any provision of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the legislature as this bill), shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $500 for each offense. The penalty shall be collected and enforced by summary proceedings pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.), in 1[the municipal] a1 court 1[having] of competent1 jurisdiction.
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the second month next following enactment.