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TRENTON - The New Jersey Judiciary has launched an initiative to provide landlords and tenants with information about court operations, as well as available services and community resources during the COVID-19 health crisis.

According to a release, through this initiative, each of the judiciary’s 15 court vicinages are sponsoring at least two landlord/tenant community resource webinars throughout the month of August. Among the topics to be discussed are the role of the courts in resolving landlord/tenant matters, the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, and the pretrial settlement conference process.

“The New Jersey Judiciary is a neutral arbitrator in resolving litigation, but we have a responsibility to promote the community collaboration needed to tackle this challenge facing our state. As part of that effort, we have set up this series of seminars in order to provide all parties the information and resources needed to reach the best possible outcome for their cases,” stated Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts.

A webinar kicking off the virtual outreach sessions July 29 included representatives from the Judiciary, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Legal Services of New Jersey and the New Jersey Apartment Association. The vicinage seminars will provide information about county-specific services and resources and allows landlords and tenants to ask general questions about how to resolve their cases.

Individual cases will not be discussed. Under an executive order from the governor, evictions of residential tenants are currently suspended until 60 days after the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency and state of emergencies.

A Supreme Court’s July 14 order prohibits evictions based on nonpayment of rent. The order allows eviction trials to be held only in the event of the death of a tenant, or if the court determines the existence of an emergency, such as documented violence, criminal activity, or other health and safety concerns. Several counties are holding virtual settlement conferences, which also will be offered statewide in the coming weeks.

While all parties are encouraged to participate in the pretrial settlement process, either party can decline to participate without penalty.

A full schedule of webinars is available at njcourts.gov.

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