TRENTON — It's now up to Gov. Phil Murphy whether certain eviction filings processed during and immediately after the public health emergency can be kept confidential.

A proposed law advanced by the full New Jersey Senate on Wednesday is meant to reduce obstacles for renters who are in need of a new place to stay.

Under the measure, if a landlord files an eviction notice due to nonpayment during the "emergency period" or in the 60 days following the conclusion of the emergency, the court records can not be made public. The bill applies to landlord-tenant actions starting on March 9, 2020.

Additionally, any of these filings that are already public would have to be pulled, under S3713/A4463.

When evaluating a prospective tenant, the bill notes, landlords would be prohibited from considering an emergency period nonpayment court record.

Any person who knowingly violates any of the bill's prohibitions could face a penalty of $1,000 for a first offense, and a penalty of no less than $5,000 for second and subsequent offenses.

The legislation was approved by the full Assembly in late March. It needs the governor's signature in order to become law.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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