NJ eviction filings are rising as courts grapple with backlog, reforms

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The eviction protection measures New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed last year to stave off a wave of renters being displaced have prompted the dismissal of more than 10,000 cases in landlord-tenant court so far, state officials said.

But housing advocates say even as the law kept thousands in their homes, the rules weren’t uniformly applied across every county, and likely resulted in tenants who should have been protected nonetheless losing their homes.

Eviction filings are now back on the rise, reaching the highest levels since the pandemic began, as state rental assistance programs dry up. About 58,000 eviction filings were made in the first seven months of 2022, more than double the 25,600 filed in the same period last year but shy of the 89,500 filed between January and July 2019, records show.

The courts, meanwhile, are slogging through a backlog of more than 31,000 cases, management reports show. Tenancy cases are considered backlogged if they take more than two months to process.

WNYC's Karen Yi spoke to All Things Considered host Sean Carlon.

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