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June 2021

Commercial Eviction Trials in New Jersey Allowed to Resume Effective Immediately

More than fourteen months ago, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey authorized a suspension of all eviction trials, commercial and residential, that only allowed for these matters to proceed to trial in certain limited circumstances under narrow exceptions.

On June 2, 2021, however, New Jersey’s Supreme Court announced that the scheduling of commercial eviction trials would immediately resume. Effective that day, pursuant to an Order issued by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, both pending and newly filed commercial landlord tenant cases are allowed to be scheduled for trial.

The Supreme Court’s June 2 Order notes that these proceedings will generally be conducted in a remote format, but that the judges overseeing these matters may conduct in person conferences and/or trials based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. Parties participating in commercial eviction actions that can demonstrate an inability to participate in remote proceedings may also opt for any related proceedings to be held in person.

The Court’s June 2 decision only applies to commercial eviction matters. While the Supreme Court’s June 2 Order allows commercial eviction trials to immediately be scheduled, each county’s courts have a backlog of previously filed cases that began building when the March 2020 suspension took effect. Cases will be scheduled in the order in which they were docketed as each county works its way to the current docket year. All residential landlord tenant trials, however, remain suspended until further notice.

With an anticipated “tsunami” of residential evictions looming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic looming, commercial landlords and tenants each find themselves with an opportunity to finally address issues that have lingered since the eviction trial suspension took effect.

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