TRENTON, NJ - Even as he celebrated again that the “curve is still flat” in efforts to beat back COVID-19, Governor Phil Murphy announced the signing of a new Executive Order that allows tenants in residential properties to use their security deposit to help cover rent.

Previous to the Order, Chief Counsel Matt Platkin explained, there had been a statutory bar on such action. Platkin would also explain that the move by Murphy further prevents landlords from seeking another security deposit for six months after the end of the current emergency.

“This was money paid up front to secure a lease,” Murphy said. “During this emergency renters should have the ability to tap this deposit.”

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The move, Murphy said, was another effort to alleviate the concerns of tenants who have been economically impacted by the coronavirus crisis and also includes the launch of a frequently asked questions webpage for tenants and landlords about rights and responsibilities, additional information on the same site for homeowners taking advantage of mortgage forbearance; and an announcement that in coordination with the New Jersey Apartment Association an urging to landlords to waive late fees for tenants.

“Too many renters are confused about their rights, and some landlords need more information on how to best adhere to the orders we have previously put in place,” Murphy said of the additional information to be made available online. “Everyone will have access to the same information so there can be no more misunderstandings.”

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