NJAA head: Speeding up housing relief payments is bigger issue than Supreme Court ruling

Brogan: ‘Glacial pace of disbursement placing added strain on landlords and tenants’

David Brogan, the executive director of the New Jersey Apartment Association, feels the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the federal eviction moratorium will not have a great impact in the state.

“It has a minimal impact on New Jersey,” he said. “Not only did New Jersey have its own eviction moratorium, but we also have a pathway back to normalcy. A new law, sponsored by Sen. Brian Stack (D-Jersey City), provides a phased-out approach to New Jersey’s eviction moratorium, legal remedies for landlords, additional rental assistance and continued protections for tenants in need.”

Don’t be fooled. That doesn’t mean there are not serious issues around rent, and the effort of the federal government to assist in the paying of rent — an issue that impacts landlords as much as tenants.

Brogan said the stress and strain of this issue could stay with the state long after the pandemic goes away if more urgency isn’t given to address the issue.

“The glacial pace in the disbursement of rental assistance is placing added strain on both landlords and tenants,” he said. “Additionally, the expectation that landlords can continue to meet their financial obligations without rent revenue is completely unreasonable. Rent revenue is the lifeblood of the multifamily ecosystem, and government cannot expect private-sector landlords to continue to provide housing for free.”

Brogan said more government — and more assistance — is not necessarily a solution.

“Government policies that inhibit or eliminate rent revenue, or allow for the exploitation of eviction moratoria, are not the answer to our housing problems,” he said. “Furthermore, continued inaction or delays by government to distribute emergency rental assistance to both landlords and tenants in need will lead many small landlords to sell their properties and dissuade others from ever becoming landlords — further exacerbating the housing crisis in our state.”

Brogan isn’t anti-government. He acknowledges it has a role to play in the current rent issues — as well as housing policy.

Brogan said the first step is to change the paradigm of the relationship.

“It is time for government to view landlords as partners, not as enemies, and it is imperative that government view our housing policy more holistically, rather than picking winners and losers,” he said.

“Government must step up and do more to help landlords, and they must do so without further delay. If not, the ramifications of such inaction will not only negatively impact our housing ecosystem today, but for decades to come.”