Landlords who own rental housing that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy can now apply for a grant to help pay for repairs and even elevation.

The Department of Community Affairs announced Wednesday that applications were being accepted for the Landlord Rental Repair Program, which will provide grants of as much as $50,000 per apartment or house. Landlords who accept the grants must then rent their property year-round at low- to moderate-income rental rates.

“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,” DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, said in a news release.

Only rental properties with 25 or fewer units are eligible for the program and the apartment or house must have been damaged during the storm. The state will prioritize the grants for landlords with seven or fewer units, housing where mold infestation is still a problem and housing that will be used for residents with special needs.

Property owners who have rental units in the nine counties most affected by Sandy also will be prioritized, but the grants can be used for properties in all counties as long as those apartments or houses were damaged during the storm.

The $70 million program is paid for through the $1.8 billion Community Development Block Grant funding allocated to New Jersey out of the $60 billion disaster aid package approved by Congress in January. As many as 1,500 apartments or rental houses will be helped in the program, the DCA said.

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