Executive Order No. 128 Allows Security Deposits to be Applied to Rent Payments During the Public Health Crisis

In light of the ongoing concerns involving the COVID-19 public health crises, Governor Philip D. Murphy signed Executive Order (“EO”) No. 128 on April 24, 2020 extending the parameters of N.J.S.A. 46:8-19 which allows tenants to request landlords to apply their security deposits to rent payments.  This executive order also expands the protections afforded by EO 106, which was previously issued and stays enforcement of all judgments for possession in connection with eviction proceedings.  EO 128 is intended to alleviate the financial hardships that many tenants are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by mitigating the consequences of evictions and the accumulation of interest and late fees by allowing tenants to use their security deposits towards rent payments.

A tenant wishing to have his or her security deposit applied to a rent payment must notify his or her landlord in writing of this request, which may be done electronically.  The tenant may exercise this option during the Public Health Emergency, or up to 60 days after the end of the Public Health Emergency established by EO 103 and extended by EO 119.  Tenants will still be responsible for reimbursing landlords for any amount that would have been otherwise reimbursable from the security deposit, but will not be required to replenish any amount of the security deposit that is used for rent during the term of the current lease.  Only if the tenant’s current lease is extended or renewed may the landlord require the tenant to replenish the full amount of the security deposit which would then be due when the current lease is extended or renewed, or six months after the end of the Public Health Emergency established by EO 103 and extended by EO 119, whichever is later.

While the ongoing Public Health Emergency presents an ever-changing landscape and the potential for change is ever-present, EO 128 is scheduled to remain in effect until at least 60 days after the end of the Public Health Emergency established by EO 103 and extended by EO 119.  We remain available to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have at this time.

A full copy of Executive Order No. 128 may be accessed at:
https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-128.pdf

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