Sandy aid program targets rental properties

Posted: July 26, 2013

Continuing its rollout of programs stemming from $20 billion in federal post-Sandy aid, New Jersey has launched a $70 million Landlord Rental Repair Program aimed at small rental properties for year-round residents.

The program will provide grants of up to $50,000 per unit to owners of rental properties to repair, rebuild, or elevate units damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Rental property owners must agree to rent their rehabilitated units to low- and moderate-income families and agree that it will be a year-round rental.

Properties with 25 or fewer units damaged during the storm are eligible, according to a release from the governor's office.

Preference will be given to projects with seven or fewer units, properties with mold remediation needs, and projects aimed at the special needs population.

The program also will give priority to the nine most affected counties, but properties from all 21 counties that sustained damage are eligible.

The Department of Community Affairs, which is overseeing the post-Sandy programs aimed at homeowners and landlords, anticipates that the program will benefit about 1,500 rental units.

In a statement, Gov. Christie called the program "a key piece of the $379 million we are investing to create new affordable housing units statewide over the next two years."

Displaced renters in hard-hit counties, especially those with seasonal rental markets, have had difficulty finding affordable and available rental units since the storm. Many who found temporary rentals were displaced again by the lucrative summer rental market.

"Because rental property restoration is critical to the long-term health of our state after Superstorm Sandy, we are pleased to add the Landlord Rental Repair Program to our overall housing recovery efforts," said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, whose department oversees the "reNew Jersey Stronger" recovery initiative.

New Jersey has earmarked $379 million in Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery money for programs for renters and rental property owners. Criticized by housing advocates for not introducing such programs, the administration has in the last several weeks launched a landlord incentive program, which provides landlords with financial incentives to rent to low- to moderate-income households; the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, which provides funding to developers to help stabilize "threatened but viable" neighborhoods; the Predevelopment Fund for Affordable Rental Housing, which provides nonprofit developers with planning assistance; and the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund, which promotes development of housing for special needs populations affected by Sandy.

The administration anticipates that more than 7,000 affordable housing units statewide will be created over the next two years.

Applications for the Landlord Rental Repair Program may be made online at www.renewjerseystronger.org, by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946), or by going to one of the nine Housing Recovery Centers.


Contact Amy S. Rosenberg at 609-823-0453 or arosenberg@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter and Instagram @amysrosenberg. 

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