On April 24, 2020 Governor Murphy signed Executive Order (EO) 128 allowing residential tenants to apply their security deposits to their rent accounts, subject to being replenished in accordance with the terms of that Order.
The Order provides in pertinent part as follows:
1. Upon written request from a tenant, including electronic communication, a security deposit governed by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 46:8-19 et seq., as well as the tenant’s portion of the interest and/or earnings accumulated thereon, shall be applied to or credited towards rent payments due or to become due from the tenant during the Public Health Emergency established in Executive Order No. 103 (2020) or up to 60 days after the Public Health Emergency terminates.
2. When a tenant applies or credits such deposit, interest, or earnings to pay rent pursuant to Paragraph 1 of this Order, the following additional provisions shall apply for the duration of the tenant’s current contract, lease, or license agreement:
- The landlord may recoup from the tenant any monies the landlord expended that would have been reimbursable by the security deposit and interest or earnings thereon, at the time that such reimbursement from the deposit and interest or earnings thereon would have taken place; and
- The tenant shall otherwise be without obligation to make any further security deposit relating to the current contract, lease, or license agreement. If, however, the tenant and landlord extend or renew their contract, lease, or license agreement following the date of this Order, then the tenant shall be obligated to replenish the security deposit in full either on the date six months following the end of the Public Health Emergency established by Executive Order No. 103 (2020), which was extended by Executive Order No. 119 (2020), or on the date on which the current contract, lease, or license agreement is extended or renewed, whichever is later. (Emphasis added.)
On June 4, 2021 Governor Murphy signed a law (A.5820) and Executive Order (EO 244) terminating the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency. Given that termination, tenants are NOW obligated to replenish the security deposit in full if they are on a M-T-M lease, or they must replenish it on the date on which their lease agreement is extended or renewed.
You should prepare a written demand letter to all of your residents who this applies to, notifying them of their obligation to replenish their deposit. If you encounter a resident who is unwilling to comply with your request, please contact your attorney with the details and we can discuss the best approach under the circumstances.
Courtesy of Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C., Attorneys at Law. EPGP & R have consistently delivered quality legal services to clients for over six decades. Founded in 1955, the law firm provides a variety of legal services for individuals, families, small businesses, and national corporations. They can be reached via the web atwww.newark-lawyers.com or via telephone at (973) 643-0040.