DCA encouraging renters — and landlords — to apply for federal rental assistance funds

N.J., which already has given out $365M, says more money is available — and landlords can help renters apply

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs announced Friday that it has disbursed $365 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds throughout the state to more than 40,000 households — making the state a leader in the country in distributing funds.

DCA officials were more interested in urging those who have not received funds to do so as soon as possible. More funding is available.

“We implore people in need who have not yet applied to act now and apply for rental assistance before it is too late,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner, said. “The assistance can help cover rent arrears, current rent and future rent, but people must not wait until the last minute to apply.”

The DCA administers the Emergency Rental Assistance funds that were allocated to the state of New Jersey. The department received $353 million in ERA1 funds, all of which have been expended, and $272 million in ERA2 funds, which are currently being distributed. In addition to the Emergency Rental Assistance allocations DCA received, the federal government provided additional funds to local governments in New Jersey that are operating their own rental assistance programs.

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Landlords may apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. In order to do so, the landlord must:

  • Obtain the signature of the tenant on the application, which may be documented electronically;
  • Must provide documentation of the application to the tenant to notify the tenant that the application has been submitted.

As part of the programs, DCA is encouraging landlords to agree to a reasonable payment plan for any rent arrears and rent not covered by the rental assistance and commit to not filing for eviction for nonpayment of rent during the term of the assistance.

The DCA had given out the entire first tranche of $353 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance it had received by Oct. 15, beating the federal deadline to spend the funds by nearly one year. This milestone follows last month’s U.S. Treasury report that showed New Jersey as first in the nation among state-administered ERA programs in terms of percentage of Emergency Rental Assistance funds spent.

“These disbursement numbers demonstrate how incredibly committed DCA is to quickly and effectively getting rental assistance out to New Jersey families who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and are unable to pay their rent,” Oliver said.