Low-income Essex County NJ tenants are being locked out of their homes -- despite COVID-19 moratoriums on evictions by the State of NJ, Essex County, the City of Newark, and other county towns.
At all times, only an Essex County Sheriff can lock out a tenant -- and only with a court order to do so. It was illegal before COVID-19 for a landlord to lock out a tenant.
Now, that illegal step taken by the landlord is also a threat to the public health.
Without access to our own office, the dedicated Essex County Legal Aid Association staff is working (remotely by phone supplemented by texts, e-mails, cellphone photos, etc.) to:
1. Respond immediately to calls and/or e-mails from low-income tenants at risk.
2. Work with each tenant to take whatever steps are legally possible at a time when Landlord-Tenant court is not in session for public health reasons.
3. Take steps to find the locked-out tenant a place to seek shelter where space is available right away, if the landlord defies a court order to let the tenant back in.
4. Work with appropriate government authorities to get justice for our client, and to strongly suggest that the landlord receives the justice deserved, even if it is not possible right now due to the added COVID-19 work required of public servants to ensure the community's health.
Please help ECLAA continue to be a legal lifeline for our clients, so that poverty is not an impenetrable barrier to civil justice...nor to being safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ECLAA also needs to muster additional resources for when all the COVID-19 eviction moratoriums are lifted -- which will lead to a predictable avalanche of eviction hearings in a Landlord-Tenant court system that is already overburdened with an average of 40,000 eviction hearings each year in this one county.
Please make a donation now that is meaningful to you at our website: www.eclaanj.org
That is the best way to put your donation to work right away.
ECLAA will celebrate the 100th anniversary of our 1920 incorporation later this year. No galas. No auctions. Just doing the work we've been doing for 100 years that we hope inspires your support today.