Rule Relaxations and Proposed Rule Amendment for New Jersey Landlord Tenant Matters

By: Christopher Saliba, Esquire

 

On January 4, 2022, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued an Order to relax certain provisions of Court Rule 1:38, to align with legislation that became effective December 1, 2021. Said legislation established confidentiality standards for certain landlord tenant cases arising out of non-payment or habitually late payment of rent owed between March 9, 2020 and August 3, 2021. In other words, certain landlord tenant cases arising during the pandemic are limited from public access and should be removed.

The Court also further relaxed and supplemented Rule 1:11-2(c) (“Appearance by Attorney for Client Who Previously Had Appeared Pro Se”) to allow attorneys providing short-term limited legal services to a client in a residential landlord tenant case to enter a limited appearance to review the case file before undertaking representation. As per the Court’s Order, any attorney who files a limited appearance under this Rule is not required to pay any filing fees.

The Supreme Court is proposing additional amendments to Court Rule 1:38, specifically 1:38-3(f) (“Court Records Excluded from Public Access”). The amendment seeks to include language that would remove landlord tenant matters from public access where a judgment for possession was entered more than seven years ago. Comments are welcomed by the Supreme Court by February 14, 2022.

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