Illegal Lockouts During Eviction Moratorium
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
NJ's moratorium on evictions could remain in effect through January 1, 2022. During this time, NJ residents are protected from removal from their home.
The NJ Attorney General’s office has released new guidelines for law enforcement agencies responding to illegal evictions during the state’s eviction moratorium. It is illegal for landlords to change locks or shut off utilities without the tenants' knowledge or approval, leaving residents unable to access their property and rendering them homeless.
Under the new guidelines, law enforcement officers must determine if an illegal eviction is occurring, issue warnings to the landlord or property owners and ensure that the illegally evicted tenants are immediately restored to the premises. If the warnings are ignored, the officers should charge the landlord or property owner with a complaint-summons, which could be a fourth-degree crime.
Residents who are being illegally evicted should contact local law enforcement for assistance. To learn more about the role of law enforcement officers in preventing illegal evictions, click here.
Please note: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its own nationwide eviction moratorium, which has since been extended to June 30, 2021. NJ provides additional supports as outlined above.