Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Announces Program to Help with the Coronavirus Crisis

Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced a program to help commercial property owners and their tenants who have each lost significant income during the COVID-19 crisis to remain solvent and avoid evictions and foreclosures.

This is the fifth of the six stimulus initiatives announced last week to address the effects of this crisis on Newark residents and businesses.

“With this program, we are seeking to prevent the loss of jobs and rows of empty storefronts which cause blight and demoralize those who live and work here.” said Mayor Baraka. “We need to prevent business tenants from being evicted and commercial owners from suffering foreclosure. This initiative is a step in the right direction.”

If commercial tenants are no longer able to pay their full rent during this crisis, property owners will be hard-pressed to pay their property taxes and would be in danger of losing their buildings. This initiative will help Newark avoid a massive surge in vacancies that could seriously damage the city’s culture, character, economic stability and reverse the progress the City has made over the last several years.

Under the program, property owners and tenants would apply jointly for significant property tax relief in proportion to the property owner’s loss of revenue. In exchange for the property tax relief, the owner agrees to not evict a tenant for non-payment of rent for one year from the date of approval of relief.

The loss in revenue due to COVID-19 for both landlord and tenant will need to be greater than 33 percent of regular income for the tenant space and respective business in order to qualify. The City will significantly reduce the property tax of the tenant’s space, through cancellation, depending on the specifics of the arrangement between the tenant and property owner. Depending on the length of the shutdown and extent of income loss, the tenant and property owner may re-apply after 12 months.

For more information on the program, e-mail the Newark Department of Economic Housing and Development at [email protected].