New Jersey has limited rental assistance for tenants unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are many more people in need of assistance than funds available to help, recent federal funding means that some programs may have additional rental assistance soon. Tenants should check frequently with the Department of Community Affairs and with their county and municipality. Legal Services of New Jersey also maintains a list of COVID-19-related rental assistance programs, but these programs change frequently: More information is available in the article, Rental Assistance Programs.
If you are applying for rental assistance from a government program, your landlord cannot refuse to accept rent from the program. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits discrimination and harassment in housing based on the source of lawful income you plan to use to pay rent. Sources of lawful income include subsidies or vouchers provided by federal, state, or local rental assistance programs, such as Section 8 housing choice vouchers, rental assistance obtained from the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CVERAP), State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP), and temporary rental assistance (TRA). That means that a landlord cannot refuse to rent to you or discourage you from renting because you plan to pay your rent with Section 8, CVERAP, SRAP, TRA, or any subsidy or voucher provided by federal, state, or local rental assistance programs. For example, a landlord cannot justify refusing to accept a tenant with a Section 8 voucher or CVERAP by saying that they do not want to deal with the paperwork or the inspection required for Section 8.
It is also unlawful for a landlord to advertise a property in any way that discriminates against prospective tenants based on source of lawful income, including by posting advertisements that state a refusal to accept, or express any limitation on, vouchers or subsidies. For example, advertisements that state “No Section 8,” “Sorry, no CVERAP,” “TRA not accepted,” or “This property not approved for Section 8” violate the LAD. A landlord or housing provider cannot retaliate against you for attempting to pay with a source of lawful income or for exercising or attempting to exercise any other rights under the LAD.
Getting Help: If your landlord is refusing to accept rent assistance from a COVID-19 rent program, you should contact Legal Services for information and legal advice. See Legal Services Offices for information about the Legal Services program in your area. You can also call LSNJ’s legal assistance hotline at 888-LSNJ-LAW.
Additional information about housing discrimination is available from the NJ Division on Civil Rights. To learn more or to file a complaint, go to www.njcivilrights.gov or call 866-405-3050.
This information last reviewed: Mar 10, 2021