Governor Phil Murphy and Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan announced today an Administrative Order protecting access to hotels and motels for individuals without safe, permanent housing. The order clarifies that municipalities and counties may not impose restrictions in response to COVID-19 on the ability of hotels, motels, guest houses, or private residences to accept any individuals who have no permanent housing to which they may safely or lawfully return. Individuals protected under the order include, but are not limited to:
- Homeless individuals;
- Individuals affected by domestic violence; and
- Individuals in hotels or motels in compliance with a court order.
“Providing our most vulnerable populations with access to safe accommodations during this crisis is both the right thing to do and a matter of public health,” said Governor Murphy. “This order will help keep more New Jerseyans safe during this pandemic.”
“Vulnerable individuals should have access to the same options as all New Jerseyans in order to self-isolate or social distance while we continue to flatten the curve,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Housing resources should continue to be available as we battle this virus.”
“This Administrative Order takes a crucial next step in protecting some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents from displacement and homelessness during the pandemic,” said Catherine Weiss, chair of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler. “Governor Murphy and Colonel Callahan have conferred strong protection from eviction on those who are staying in hotels or motels because they lack safe and permanent housing.”
The order further clarifies that individuals who have no permanent housing to which they may safely or lawfully return and live at a hotel or motel on a continual basis are not considered “transient guests or seasonal tenants,” and thus are entitled to the protections against evictions included in Executive Order No. 106.
The Order takes effect at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2020.
A copy of the Administrative Order can be found here.