NJHMFA opens 2nd round of small landlord emergency grant program

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency announced the expansion and reopening of its Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program to assist vulnerable renters across the state by covering their missed rent from April-July.

The second round of the program, which reopened Monday, will run until Oct. 13.

NJHMFA, whose mission is to increase the availability of and accessibility to safe, decent and affordable housing to families in New Jersey, developed the SLEG Program to reimburse small landlords for missed or reduced rent payments (between April-July) due to COVID-19.

Landlords approved for a grant must forgive any back rent or late fees incurred by their tenants.

To be eligible for the 2nd round of the SLEG Program:

  • Applicants must own a residential property in New Jersey with 3 to 30 rental units;
  • Applicants must be registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Bureau of Housing Inspection;
  • The property must not be a seasonal or vacation rental property;
  • The property must have at least one non-vacant rental unit impacted by COVID-19 between April and July 2020;
  • The property must have low-to-moderate income rent levels.

NJHMFA officials said $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.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, said the state hopes that no one will struggle to stay in their apartment during the pandemic.

“Whether they are tenants or landlords, many of New Jersey’s families are hurting in the ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic,” she said. “No one should be struggling to keep a roof over their head during this crisis.”

“The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program is critical to ensuring the recovery of these families as we rebuild New Jersey’s economy together. Gov. (Phil) Murphy and I encourage every eligible landlord to apply for this COVID-19 relief program.”

Charles Richman, the executive director of New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, said the program meets a vital need.

“Since April, New Jersey landlords have filed 30,000 eviction cases in landlord-tenant court,” he said. “Although Gov. 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.

“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.”

There is 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.

The application is available in both English and Spanish, and NJHMFA has contracted interpretation services to support speakers of at least 10 additional languages: Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Tagalog.

Applicants can contact languagehelp@njhmfa.gov to receive a call within one business day from a representative who can communicate with them in their primary language. Potential applicants with specific questions can call NJHMFA’s toll-free hotline at 866-280-9756 or email sleg@njhmfa.gov.