Permit Extension Act of 2020 Now Law
On June 26, Governor Murphy issued a Conditional Veto of A3919/S2346 (Calabrese/Sarlo), and on June 29, the Assembly and Senate voted unanimously to concur with the Governor’s revisions. Governor Murphy signed the legislation into law on July 1 to create the Permit Extension Act (PEA) of 2020.
This new law covers permits in existence during the period in which the COVID-19 public health emergency is in effect and tolls permits for an additional 6 months. NJBA strongly supports this new law which preserves projects that have stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The PEA of 2020 is a crucial piece of the economic puzzle needed to build a robust and healthy housing market that will help enable NJ to realize a full economic recovery.
Executive Orders and Administrative Orders
To access a full list of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders, click here.
Executive Order 161 – Increases outdoor gathering limit.
Executive Order 156 – Increases indoor and outdoor capacity limits.
Executive Order 153 – Permits re-opening of outdoor recreation and pools.
Executive Order 152 – Sets limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings in addition to setting rules for gatherings.
Executive Order 142 – Permits non-essential construction and non-essential retail businesses to reopen with restrictions and mandates safety policies for all construction projects.
Executive Order 140 – Establishes a Restart and Recovery Advisory council tasked with providing guidance to the Governor on the reopening and recovery of New Jersey’s economy. NJBA CEO Carol Ann Short, Esq., and builder members David Barry of Ironstate Development, Carl Goldberg of Canoe Brook Management LLC, and Elizabeth Tice, Esq. of K. Hovnanian Homes were subsequently named to the council.
Executive Order 136 – Pauses or delays timeframes governing the DEP’s provision of public notice, review and decisions on permits and other approvals for the duration of the public health emergency. Please click here for a summary of EO 136 from NJBA Environmental Counsel Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla.
Administrative Order 2020-06 sets forth which DEP permitting public comment periods will be extended under the authority of EO 136.
Executive Order 131 – Creates a commission charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.
Executive Order 130 – Allows municipalities to extend grace period for May 1st property tax payments until June 1st.
Executive Order 128 – Allows a tenant to direct a landlord to use moneys held in a security deposit to pay rent.
Executive Order 127 – Postpones deadlines to act on rule proposals, petitions for rulemaking and the expiration of currently existing rules until 90 days after public health emergency has ended.
Executive Order 123 – Extends grace periods during which certain insurance companies, including health insurers, life insurers, and property and casualty insurers, will not be able to cancel policies for nonpayment of premiums.
Executive Order 122 – Directs all non essential construction activity to cease indefinitely by 8:00 pm on April 10th. Also includes information on requirements for essential construction and general requirements for certain businesses that maintain permissible in person operations. Click here for an in-depth summary. Click here for guidance from DCA. Click here for compliance guidance from DEP. Click here for site remediation guidance from DEP.
Executive Order 113 – Authorizing commandeering of property such as medical supplies.
Executive Order 110 – Requires child care centers close on April 1 unless serving children of essential workers.
Executive Order 109 – In an effort to maintain a sufficient level of healthcare supplies, Governor Murphy signed EO 109 requiring any business, non-hospital health care facility, or institution of higher learning who are in possession of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines not required for the provision of critical health care services to undertake an inventory of these supplies and send the information to the state.
Executive Order 108 – Invalidates any municipal or county ordinances that conflict with Executive Order 107.
Administrative Order 2020-8 – Amends EO108 – Allows municipalities or counties to impose certain restrictions on the ability of hotels, motels, guest houses, or private residences to accept transient guests or seasonal tenants.
Executive Order 107 – Orders NJ residents to remain at home, orders all non-essential brick and mortar retail businesses to close and allows construction and other industries to continue if certain parameters are met (see Section 11).
The following are COVID-19 Legislative Enactments relevant to the building industry:
Governor Murphy Vetoes Commercial Rent Suspension Bill – Governor Murphy issued an absolute veto on S2363/A3921 (Greenstein/Benson), which would have authorized rent suspensions for small business tenants who have been economically distressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his veto message, the Governor stated that the “bill disregards the financial position of the impacted parties, shifting the financial burden in all cases from tenants onto property owners, who may not be relieved of their own obligations to pay mortgage payments and property taxes.”
• P.L.2020, c.1 – No person shall be removed from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure during a public health emergency. A3859/S2276 (McKnight/Cryan).
• P.L.2020, c.11 – Allows public bodies to conduct meetings, and provide notice, by electronic means during periods of emergency. A3850/S2294 (Murphy/ Beach).
• P.L.2020, c.19 – Changes the tax deadline from April 15th to July 15th and lengthens the current fiscal year from July 1st to the end of September. S2338/A3918 (Sarlo/Pintor Marin).
• P.L.2020, c.25 – Permits professional and occupational licensing boards to expeditiously reactivate licensure during state of emergency for any individual who held, in good standing, a corresponding license, certificate of registration or certification. A3901/S2334 (Chiaravalloti/Pou).
• P.L.2020, c.35 – Extends deadline to file a property tax appeal to July 1, 2020. A4157/S2387 (Mukherji/Sarlo).
DEP – Notice of Rule Waiver – Extension of Remedial Action Deadlines.
DEP – Guidance on Compliance and Enforcement – DEP has released compliance and enforcement guidance in relation to statutory, regulatory and permit obligations. If deadlines cannot be met, notification is required to DEP. Please read the document carefully for instructions regarding notification timelines.
DEP – Guidance Related to Site Remediation Under EO 122 – This guidance pertains to site remediation under EO 122, which included remediation of sites as an essential construction activity.
DCA – Division of Local Government Services Extension of Deadlines and Licensing – P.L. 2020, c. 34, enacted on May 15, 2020, authorizes the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to extend other deadlines established in the Local Budget Law, Local Fiscal Affairs Law, and the Local Authorities Fiscal Control Law, along with various property tax-related deadlines under Title 54 of the New Jersey Statutes, when a Gubernatorially-declared state of emergency or public health emergency is in effect. The law also temporarily extends by one year the renewal period for all DLGS-licensed positions and for tax assessors, and allows an unlicensed official in a DLGS-licensed position as of May 15, 2020 to serve in an acting capacity for one additional year upon DLGS approval.
DCA – Local Finance Notice 2020-13 – Lists the various budget and property tax-related deadlines extended by Director Order, and details the statutory deadline extensions relating to various licensed officials.
DCA – Guidance on EO 122 – This guidance stipulates that in order to continue as an essential construction project, documentation must be submitted to the local construction office attesting to how the project qualifies as an essential construction project and the measures/precautions put in place to satisfy #3 and #4 of EO 122.
DCA – Guidance to Municipal Building Code Departments – Local Enforcing Agencies cannot restrict code officials from performing their obligations under the Uniform Construction Code and are urged to remain flexible and use electronic communication to the greatest extent possible. DCA also released a complimentary emergency rule relaxation concerning the regulatory provisions governing Minor work (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.17A), Inspections (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18), and Certificate requirements (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.23). To view the text of the rule changes, click here.
DCA – Guidance on New Home Warranties – Due to Covid-19 workplace restrictions, the New Home Warranty Program is currently not accepting applications. All municipalities are authorized to issue certificates of occupancy for new homes without the required new home warranty, provided that the registered new home builder provides the municipality with the fully executed new home builder certification made pursuant to this new directive. Please see the full requirements and instructions here. Please see the new home builder certification here. You can find a full list of current DCA Covid-19 related guidance and procedures here.
DCA – Guidance on Local Operations – Recommendations for construction and land use review, transfer of titles, electronic payments, vital statistics and more.
BPU – Order on Essential Obligations – Directs all public utilities and regulated entities to cease any in-home or business visits unless there is an immediate risk to health and safety.
DEP – Guidance Regarding Environmental Service Providers and Stay at Home Directive – DEP has distributed a listserve with guidance for non-profits and businesses not specifically restricted by EO 107, including regulated entities and environmental service providers who perform critical functions that support public health and safety.
New Jersey Supreme Court – Information on Judiciary Proceedings – Supreme Court Order Resumes Some Court Operations, Extends Suspension of Others.
DCA – Division of Fire Safety – Local enforcement agencies have suspended conducting inspections and reinspections at all health care related facilities and have suspended performing certificate of smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and portable fire extinguisher compliance (CSACMAPFEC) inspections.
Government Records Council – Special Statement Regarding OPRA – When responding to OPRA requests, local government records custodians should document in writing any emergency-related barriers to providing the requestor with a final response within the standard OPRA response timeframe. To the greatest extent possible, the custodian’s initial response to the requestor should adhere to the standard timeline for an OPRA request response.
Public Meeting Guidance
DCA – Division of Local Government Services Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments – Timeframes are not suspended and land use boards should continue to meet at least once per month as required by the MLUL using videoconferencing technology. There are specifics about submission of plans and public access to those plans, how notice is to be provided, and how hearings are conducted, including public participation at hearings. Exhibits to be used at hearings need to be submitted at least 48 hours in advance so that they can be pre-marked rather than introduced in the first instance at the hearing and posted on the town website so that they can be viewed more easily by the public during the hearing.
DCA – Division of Local Government Services Guidance for Remote Public Meetings in New Jersey
DCA – Division of Local Government Services Guidance on Public Meetings
P.L.2020, c.11 – Allows public bodies to conduct meetings, and provide notice, by electronic means during periods of emergency. A3850 (Murphy) & S2294 (Beach).
P.L.2020, c.2 – Allows State business and legislative sessions to take place at locations other than Trenton and allows the Legislature to use any technology or electronic means to conduct its business, to carry out its purposes, or to comply with the requirements of certain provisions of the New Jersey Constitution during periods of emergency or other exigency. A3852 (Coughlin) & A2296 (Sweeney).
New Landlord/Tenant Policies
P.L.2020, c.1 – Declares that no person shall be removed from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure during a public health emergency or a state of emergency. A3859 (McKnight) & S2276 (Cryan).
HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Suspend Foreclosures and Evictions – Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration through the end of April. The Federal Housing Finance Agency also announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will follow suit and suspend all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.
Executive Order 106 – Imposes moratorium on evictions of tenants and homeowners.
Governor Murphy Announces $100M Rental Assistance Program – The $100 million short term program within the Department of Community Affairs will be supported primarily through Federal CARES Act funding and aim to serve very low, low, and moderate households who have had a substantial reduction in income due to the pandemic. Very low income households will be prioritized and eligible for 12 months of rental assistance. The remainder of the funds will be available through a lottery system that opens in July – the lottery system will preference households that earn less than 80% area median income – and these recipients will be eligible for 6 months of rental assistance. Please see the following DCA Division of Local Government Services webpage dedicated to the new COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program for more information.
EDA Announces Initiatives to Support Businesses
NJEDA announced the launch of $75 million of State and private financial support, with the opportunity to grow to more than $100 million if additional resources become available. The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises. EDA has also launched a new Emergency Assistance Eligibility Wizard to help businesses determine what resources may be available at assistance.business.nj.gov.
Mortgage Companies to Provide Relief to NJ Homeowners – Governor Murphy announced that his administration had worked with mortgage companies to provide relief for NJ homeowners and that numerous companies have pledged to provide a 90 day grace period for homeowners affected by COVID-19. Additionally, lenders have agreed not to initiate any foreclosures or evictions for 60 days. Impacted homeowners should contact their lender to see if they qualify.
Price Gouging – Report it at NJ Consumer Affairs: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov