New in 2021, and on the books until the coronavirus pandemic is long gone, is a New Jersey law that throws businesses and residents another option when they're falling behind on rent payments.

It's expected to cause headaches for folks who weren't set up already to follow the law but exemptions in the law are viewed as a fair trade-off.

Under the law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 4, landlords in New Jersey are required to allow a tenant to make rent payments by credit card. The law went into effect immediately, and expires one year after the public health emergency has expired.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many New Jersey residents and businesses to endure prolonged depletions of income. This bill ensures that the State’s tenants are provided with sufficient options for rent payment during this emergency and its aftermath," the law's language states.

The law allows landlords to pass the credit card transaction fee on to their tenants, and any "chargebacks" for fraudulent use of cards or other purposes would also be a tenant's responsibility.

The law exempts hotels and motels, and properties with just two units, as well as owner-occupied premises with less than four units.

"If the tenant's not paying rent, both the landlord and the tenant are in a difficult position," said Derek Reed, past president of the New Jersey Property Owners Association.

Generally, larger housing providers are already set up to accept credit card payments, according to Reed. Small-to-medium operations, though, need to get up to speed.

"There might be some growing pains associated with that," said Reed, who serves as legal counsel to the Association. "In the end, I think it's a positive development to have tenants pay rent by any means ... It looks like it's going to help both parties."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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