Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill To Protect Senior Citizens From Unexplained Rent Increases Passes Assembly Committee

New Jersey Legislators are concerned about the effect of rising rent costs on seniors. Many seniors live on a fixed income, making unexpected rent increases stressful. When landlords do not provide seniors with a proper explanation for their rent increase, it can further compound the issue. To combat this, Assemblyman Moriarty’s bill (A-4397) will require landlords to provide a written explanation for any rent increase to seniors. The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee approved this bill at it’s December meeting.

Current state law requires landlords to provide a notice to their tenants whenever they increase the rent. Additionally, New Jersey prohibits “unconscionable” rent increases. However, the ambiguity of this term, leaves many seniors feeling taken advantage of and confused. Further, the law does not specify how the landlord should send the notice to the tenant.

In pursuit of transparency, the bill will require landlords of senior citizen housing projects to provide written notice for any rent increase and an explanation as to why the rent is increasing. Specifically, this notice must explain why the increase is not unconscionable, confirm that the increase is legal, and list any expenses which contributed to the increase. The bill also clarifies that all rent increase and eviction notices must be in writing.

Now that the bill has passed committee, it will come before the General Assembly for a vote. If approved it will head to the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee before being considered by the Senate at large. The bill would apply to any rent increase that takes effect on or after the first day of the third month following the Governor’s approval.

Assemblyman Moriarty has championed senior rights throughout his tenure in the General Assembly. This legislation joins his past efforts, such as the senior property tax freeze program, in support of seniors. The Assemblyman is hopeful that this legislation will further protect seniors from unfair rent increases and bring them peace of mind in a stressful situation.