Just days left for small landlords to apply to receive COVID-relief funding for up to 4 months of missed or reduced rent between April and July 2020.

TRENTON, NJ – There is still time for vulnerable tenants and landlords to benefit from the New Jersey Housing Mortgage and Finance Agency’s (NJHMFA) reopened Small Landlord Emergency Grant (SLEG) Program. The program will close on Tuesday, October 13th at 4:00 p.m. NJHMFA, whose mission is to increase the availability and accessibility of quality affordable housing to families in New Jersey, developed the SLEG Program to reimburse landlords of properties with between 3 and 30 units for missed or reduced rent payments between April 2020 and July 2020 due to COVID-19. Landlords approved for a grant must forgive any back rent or late fees incurred by their tenants.

In July, a report created for the Coalition of Housing Advocates in New Jersey noted that approximately 450,000 or 40% of all renter households in the state would not be able to pay their rent in August. Unpaid rent was estimated to be $687 million as of the date the report was published, and it will have only increased since then. The impact of this loss of revenue would be devastating to the state’s economy and the families who, impacted by the pandemic, cannot pay their rent.

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“The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program is about supporting small landlords, a population that plays an integral role in the stability of our communities but are often overlooked. Our data shows that many of New Jersey’s small property owners are not companies or corporations; they are families and individuals. And like the families that they house, they are struggling,” explained Charles A. Richman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. “In assisting small landlords, we’re also helping the New Jersey families that call their buildings home. Our state will not recover if we don’t get help to the families and individuals who have been hardest hit by the ongoing public health and economic crises.”

While many aspects of the program remain the same in this second round, NJHMFA has enhanced and expanded the program to increase its impact. The maximum number of units for eligible properties has increased from 10 to 30, also raising the number of eligible landlords. The application process has also been streamlined for ease of use. NJHMFA will also accept a wider range of supporting documents to demonstrate missed or partial rent payments, including statements from payment processors such as Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, and Zelle, instead of only bank statements. Applicants are also no longer required to submit certifications at the time of their application, as NJHMFA will verify their eligibility with the Department of Community Affairs.

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’ (DCA) 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.

$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.

There is a range of tools available on NJHMFA’s website to assist Primary Property Owners with 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 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.