O’Scanlon Calls On Landlords To Ease Lease Term Restrictions

Many displaced residents cannot sign long term lease but need place to stay.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon today made a public call to all landlords to help those in need of emergency housing. Since Superstorm Sandy left thousands displaced, many are looking for temporary housing while their homes are repaired or rebuilt.

“FEMA is working to provide temporary housing to all who have been displaced,” O’Scanlon said. “Many who use the housing research tools provided by FEMA are discovering that, while there is housing available, many of the landlords require a 6 six month or one year lease.”

New Jerseyans displaced from their homes due to damage from Hurricane Sandy are encouraged to use an online housing locator to help them quickly find affordable transitional or long-term housing. The New Jersey Housing Resource Center (HRC), located on the web at www.NJHRC.gov, is a free service to people in search of affordable housing and to landlords who are looking to provide housing. FEMA also provides an online housing portal at: www.fema.gov/housingportal.

“While these sites are useful, if landlords do not forgo their lease term requirements, it will be useless for hundreds, if not thousands, of displaced residents,” explained O’Scanlon. “ I am asking that the landlords who have available housing consider rescinding these term requirements in an effort to help out these families who need a place to stay while their homes are repaired.”

“I cannot imagine saying no to someone who is at the end of their rope and just needs a roof over their head,” O’Scanlon stated. “But ‘no’ is what many folks are hearing from some seemingly heartless landlords. I know these landlords are not really heartless which is why I am imploring them to change their policy and make this desperately needed housing available to our community members who lost so much.”

Today, the Christie Administration’s announced that, to help transition Sandy-displaced residents from hotels and motels and into more permanent housing solutions as quickly as possible, FEMA is permitting households receiving rental assistance to use this funding to pay for security deposits. This will give displaced New Jerseyans, who are residing in a hotel or motel because they do not have money for a security deposit, the opportunity to move into a rental unit. Households can utilize up to one month of their rental allotment for a security deposit and not have to give it back to FEMA at the end of the lease. FEMA will now provide rental assistance and security deposits.

“I realize what I’m asking may marginally increase expenses,” O’Scanlon said. “We’re not looking for them to be burdened with excessive additional costs and with FEMA now covering the security deposit, much of any additional expense will be defrayed. The choice here is, do the right thing and absorb any marginal added expenses giving these folks, many who have lost everything, a roof over their head or, literally, leave them out in the cold. Seems to me that if you’re a compassionate human being the choice is clear. ”

“If there are landlords out there who will do the right thing, and allow short term leases for displaced residents, please contact FEMA to get your listings on the available portals and reach out to my office that has been acting as a clearing house for those in need of housing at (732) 933-1591. We will get you in contact with the right people so your generosity can be put to good use. Any residents who are running into these types of issues should also contact my office with the details of the apartment building and landlord contact information. We intend to start reaching out to these facilities directly to persuade then to modify their policies,” O’Scanlon closed.

Posted: January 15th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, Declan O'Scanlon, FEMA, Housing, Press Release | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “O’Scanlon Calls On Landlords To Ease Lease Term Restrictions”

  1. James Giannell said at 2:10 pm on January 16th, 2013:

    The problem is not with most Landlords, its our local Government rules and Regs. It should be said that many Code Enforcement officials are doing a great job, making the effort to expidite paperwork, but the problems evolve around the time to complete paperwork, the costs, and in some cases finding the time for multiple governmental inspections. Two examples:
    a) Ocean Twp charges $150. for a Certificate of Occupancy Inspection; $150. for the Ocean Twp “Landlord Registration” (in addition to the State required Landlord Registration); and $35 to $125 for Fire Inspection. This, of course, does not give any consideration to the time a Landlord or Agent has to devote to filing forms and waiting for Inspectors.
    b) Red Bank requires: 1) a Certificate of Occupancy Inspection; 2) a Landlord Registration Statement; 3) the State required Landlord Registration Statement; 4) a Tenant Registration Statement; 5) an additional Tenant Registration Statement for Multi Family properties (3 units or more)
    In addition to the above examples, there are additional State & Federal forms that are required.
    If anyone should be considered as heartless, it should be the Governmental officials of the municipalities that are gouging property owners with excessive fees
    whenever and wherever they can; and creating more and more meaningless and duplicative paper work.
    The first step in helping the displaced residents should be to give property owners an incentive (by not punishing them with more costs) and have Government “Waive” most of the Rules & Regs; and “Waive” the fees where the tenants are displaced “Sandy” residents. Lets see if Government officials will “Do the Right Thing” ! What do you think ?