New Jersey Eases the Process for Commercial Evictions
Last summer, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order beginning the resumption of landlord/tenant (“LLT”) cases during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While commercial evictions never fully stopped, these cases ground to a halt due to the administrative backlogs of the New Jersey courts.
Recently, the NJ Supreme Court clarified and expanded the circumstances in which a landlord may apply by Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) to seek an eviction hearing. As discussed below, commercial landlords now have an increased feasibility to seek commercial.
Accompanying the order of the Supreme Court was a Notice to the Bar providing that a trial may be scheduled if a commercial landlord file an OTSC alleging emergent circumstances, either:
- involving something other than nonpayment of rent; or
- based on nonpayment of rent if:
- the tenant has vacated the property;
- the tenant’s business is not operating and will not resume operations; or
- that threatens the landlord’s capacity to continue their business, e.g., a pending foreclosure or tax lien.
The court holding a hearing and evaluates the application and determine whether emergent circumstances exist. If emergent circumstance is found, the commercial tenant will be notified, and a trial scheduled. If the landlord prevails at trial, judgment will be entered, and a warrant of removal can be issued. Once the warrant is issued, the landlord can schedule a lockout with the county Sheriff.
Additionally, no restrictions exist against commercial landlords filing and prosecuting lawsuits for monetary relief against commercial tenants and guarantors. That is considered another option available to landlords to enforce their rights during the pandemic. As New Jersey courts begin to resume evictions on the residential and commercial fronts, please contact our attorneys to discuss any pending LLT matters.
For a link to the order, see here: https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/2021/n210208a.pdf