Landlords should show 'compassion in coronavirus crisis, governor says

Minyvonne Burke

The governor of New Jersey announced a mortgage-payment relief program and asked that landlords show compassion to tenants who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Phil Murphy said national and state lenders have agreed to allow homeowners in the state who are financially harmed by the crisis a 90-day grace period on their mortgages.

"For consumers who use this option, this 90-day grace period cannot and will not be used to downgrade anyone's credit rating, and lenders will also waive any late fees or other costs," he said at a press conference on Saturday.

The financial institutions have also said they will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions for at least 60 days.

"Many New Jersey families can breathe easier, keep their heads above water and have a place they can continue to call home," the governor said.

Murphy also warned that any landlord who tries to evict a tenant during the pandemic faces consequences.

"To every landlord, I cannot stress this enough, now is the time to show some compassion and to work with your renters to ensure that they stay safe and in their homes," he said. "And, as I mentioned, you cannot evict anyone at this time and if you try to we're not going to take it lightly and we will make an example out of you for violating the law."

New Jersey has more than 11,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 140 deaths, as of Saturday afternoon. Nearly 156,000 workers in the state filed for unemployment in the last week, NJ.com reported Thursday.