- Karen Edmond
How NJ's Mass Evictions May Negatively Effect The Morale Of Registered Voters.
This year's election is immensely important, and voter suppression wears a vast array of costumes to divert citizens from voting. Per an ACLU, commentary shared that "voting should be easy and convenient." Unfortunately, the ACLU also shared that, "too many politicians are passing measures making it harder to cast a ballot." Voter suppression tactics can "range from the seemingly unobstructed like voter ID laws and cuts to early voting registries." This includes "mass purges of voter rolls." The purge removes citizens from voting logs who no longer reside at the residence where their voter registration identifies. https://www.aclu.org/news/civil-liberties/block-the-vote-voter-suppression-in-2020/
Strangely enough, per an article by Sophie Nieto-Munoz of NJ.com, "more than 15,000 renters are facing evictions in NJ despite Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order," not to evict tenants. The article shares that as of April 1, 2020, "15,256 evictions" were filed. Report further shares that "NJ could see as many as 304,000 evictions the next four months." https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/08/15k-evictions-have-been-filed-despite-murphy-moratorium-renters-landlords-terrified-about-whats-next.html
This inflection point of approximately 320,000 people being evicted legally or illegally in many cases by September or October 2020 could block a vast number of voters from voting at this year's presidential election. (November 3, 2020.) As well as bring down the morale of citizens that rent not to vote.
Word on the street is that tenants pay their rent on time, and are compliant to their landlord's requests even during COVID 19. Unfortunately, illegal evictions provide measures that can allow unscrupulous landlords to access affordable housing units through constructive evictions.
Per Legal Dictionary.Net, "constructive eviction is an eviction provoked by a landlord's substantial interference with the tenant's enjoyment of the property." By:
Landlord's action to make premises uninhabitable for tenants. (mentally & physically)
Entering the property without proper notice.
Having water turned off.
Blocking the tenant's access to the property.
Harassing the tenant continually with bogus claims of non-payment.
Sending eviction notices to tenants for petty complaints.
Unethical landlords will purposely stagger tenant's online payments so that payments submitted on the 1st isn't registered until the 5th, 6th, or 7th. This action now puts tenants in a vulnerable place to have late & evictions charges unaware because they paid rent on the 1st.
Unethical landlords may also harass tenant by asking for personal items of tenant that the landlord has no right to access to such as:
Copies of tenants bank; credit; or debit cards.
Tenants in NJ have a few resources to help them during this period of voter suppression tactics mingled with mass eviction processing plus voter list purging. We will call this portion of the report the good news and the bad news of addressing said landlord-tenant issues.
The good news is you can still vote if you are a registered voter and no longer reside in your former residence.
The bad news is that you will more than likely have to vote by mail. Wherewith post office administration appointed by President Trump is doing their damndest to stagger those submissions so that said votes won't count by November. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-trump-dejoy/2020/08/18/a9b4dd18-e14c-11ea-8181-606e603bb1c4_story.html Here is an NJ Division of Elections link that might help. https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/vote-by-mail.shtml
Secondly, the good news is that the LSNJLAW is a legal service that might assist you with obtaining legal answers and, in some cases, a lawyer to fight on your behalf.
The bad news is that even though you may be low income and collecting unemployment, you may not be eligible for assistance because you make too much money being low income and stuff. Here is that link that might help https://www.lsnjlaw.org/Pages/Default.aspx
Thirdly, the good news is that tenants threatened with eviction can obtain a lawyer with the Monmouth Bar Association.
The bad news is that you are more than likely going to have to pay an hourly fee of $250 - $300 to speak to a lawyer. While having your landlord's lawyers steal money out of your rental account, that should be going towards your rent. Here's a link that might help: https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/real-estate/landlord-tenant-law/how-much-does-a-landlord-tenant-lawyer-cost.html
Fourthly the excellent news is that you can create a tenants union! Tenant unions could collect tenants' complaints and concerns, and as a group, pursue justice as a team.
The bad news is that landlords who already don't want you or your new-found comrades to occupy affordable units tenants may experience an new level of harassment called "landlord retaliation." (On a side note landlord retaliation is as illegal as filing repeated court claims accusing tenants of not paying their rents but unethical landlords are capable of this behavior without any conviction or fear of the law.) https://www.civillawselfhelpcenter.org/self-help/evictions-housing/more-topics/202-landlords-retaliation-against-tenant Never the less some tenant unions have been capable of filing class-action lawsuits successfully. Here's a link that might help. http://www.njto.org/
In conclusion, in my opinion, it all stinks. As shared earlier per ACLU quote, "voting should be easy for citizens." The reality is that renters rent to obtain a place to call home, nothing more nothing less.
Unfortunately, because of economic disparities, political agendas, and a society that puts making money first instead of protecting their fellow citizens, Americans find themselves in the unforeseen territory of "duplicity." https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-american-economy-is-rigged/ https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduces-compassion/
Since NJ renters are out in the water like sitting ducks, renters must stand up for what is right and demand justice for landlords' misdoings. Help Governor Murphy help you by writing governor and reporting evictions and how this affects your family. at https://nj.gov/governor/index.shtml,) Lastly if not simply do what my mother, Cindy Brittingham, would say when times got hard. "Put your head between your knees and kiss your butt good-bye." Thanks for reading. And good luck to all 300,000 some odd renters in NJ threatened by legal and illegal evictions despite Governor Murphy's edict not to persecute you. Rev Marvin Sapp's song that shares. "This is not the time for giving up." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sIAjm9XlN8