The group, which is fighting against the policies of big states, has reopened its case against New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on behalf of landlords.
A new alliance of civil liberties claims that Murphy exceeded his authority last spring with an executive order that allowed the use of security deposits for rent. The case was transferred to the New Jersey Court of Appeals in December to save time.
This week, a non-profit group filed an introductory statement arguing that Murphy’s Executive Order 128 violated the division of power and deprived property owners of due process.
The order, signed a year ago, aimed to help tenants who lost their income in a pandemic. It gives tenants the option of ordering landlords to use advances to offset rent without having to replenish their advances up to 60 days after the pandemic – which is not over.
The order retains the liability of the tenants for damage to property and for everything that the deposit would cover. But with the order and the moratorium on eviction, NCLA says tenants are taking advantage and letting landlords pay out of pocket.
“Landlords and tenants shall negotiate such contracts in advance in order to provide incentives… [The order] shifts the incentives and behavior of the parties, “said Jared McClain, who represents the NCLA in a suit.
After the executive order was issued, the tenant wrote to one of McClain’s landlord clients and asked for a $ 2,000 security deposit to be rented, McClain said.
The tenant dropped last month’s rent, left the apartment with $ 1,800 in damage and disappeared.
“They entered into this agreement, agreed on what the rent would be like, agreed on a bail,” McClain said. “Those were the parameters of the contractual relationship … and the governor changed it unilaterally retroactively.”
Dozens of landlords approached the NCLA with similar stories, saying they had them fighting to make a living or forced them to put rental units up for sale.
Murphy’s office and tenant organizations in New Jersey did not respond to requests for comment.