In New Jersey, lease or rental agreements can be written or oral. A lease is a legally binding document and indicates the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. For example, the tenant has the right to live in a habitable rental property and the right to be treated without any form of discrimination.
Landlords also have certain rights such as the right to make appropriate deductions for a tenant’s security deposit due to damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
This article will serve as a basic guide to help you understand the New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Law.
Mandatory Landlord Disclosures in New Jersey
As in other states, landlords in New Jersey have to make certain disclosures to their tenants. They are imposed on a landlord regardless of whether the lease agreement includes provisions for such things or not.
The following is information that a residential landlord in New Jersey must disclose to their tenants:
- Presence of latent defects affecting “habitability” of the premises.
- Statement of the tenant’s right to request child protection standards.
- Truth in Renting statement of the tenant’s legal rights and duties.
- Flood zone concerns.
- Structural property damage caused by fire, water, insect, and mold.
- The presence of lead paint and asbestos hazards.
New Jersey Tenant Responsibilities & Rights
Tenants in New Jersey have the following rights. The right to:
- Live in a property that meets the basic safety, health, and building codes.
- To be treated with respect and fairness as per the New Jersey Fair Housing Act.
- Have requested repairs carried out within a reasonable timeframe. And if the landlord fails in this regard, a tenant has a right to “repair and deduct.”
- Continue living on the property until the landlord has conducted the proper eviction procedures as stated in the New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Act.
- Be notified of any changes to the lease.
- Live in peace and quiet, away from any unreasonable disruptions.
- Be provided certain disclosure before they can sign the lease.
- Break the lease for certain legally justified reasons such as to start active military duty or if the property ceases to meet basic habitability standards.
The following are some responsibilities that tenants in New Jersey have. New Jersey tenants must:
- Adhere to all terms in the lease, including payment of rent.
- Ensure their rental property is sanitary and clean at all times per the requirements of the lease or rental agreement.
- Promptly notify the landlord when maintenance issues occur.
- Provide the landlord with proper notice before vacating their rental premises.
New Jersey Landlord Rights & Responsibility
Landlords in New Jersey have the following rights. The right to:
- Collect rent every month whenever it becomes due, and demand it when it becomes overdue.
- Make appropriate deductions to a tenant’s security deposit when a tenant moves out without fixing negligent property damages.
- Evict a tenant for a gross violation of the lease agreement. Examples of common violations include nonpayment of rent and damage exceeding normal wear and tear.
- Be served with a notice before a tenant vacates their rental unit.
As for the responsibilities, landlord much:
- Follow the law when evicting a tenant.
- Provide a unit that meets all the basic habitability codes.
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Treat all tenants following the state’s Fair Housing laws.
- Follow through on requested repairs promptly.
- Notify tenants before entering their rented premises.
An Overview of the New Jersey landlord-tenant laws
Evictions in New Jersey
Landlords in New Jersey, just like elsewhere in the country, have a right to evict a tenant. Common reasons for evictions in New Jersey include nonpayment of rent, lease violations, and illegal acts.
You must, however, follow the statewide eviction process for the eviction to be successful. It’s unlawful for landlords to evict a tenant in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons. Also, as a landlord, it’s illegal to engage in “self-help” eviction tactics, such as:
- Removing the tenant’s belongings.
- Locking out the tenant.
- Shutting down utilities.
Most landlords in New Jersey require tenants to pay a security deposit. In doing so, however, there are certain requirements that they must follow. For example:
- The landlord can only charge a sum not exceeding the equivalent of 1.5X the rental amount. So, if the monthly rent amount is $1,000, the maximum security deposit you can charge the tenant shouldn’t exceed $1,500.
- When making deductions from a tenant’s security deposit it can only be for damages that exceed normal wear and tear. Such damages can include broken windows or large holes in the wall.
- You must return the tenant’s deposit, or whatever remains of it, within 30 days. Wrongfully withholding a tenant’s deposit can result in certain financial ramifications. Among other things, you may be liable for paying the tenant the full deposit amount.
More than 100 municipalities in New Jersey have some kind of rent control policies. In such places, landlords must provide their tenants a notice of at least 30 days before raising rents. And if a tenant disagrees with the hike, you must allow them to terminate the lease without any conditions.
All forms of housing discrimination are prohibited in the state of New Jersey. Protected characteristics include race, color, sex, religion, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and victims of domestic violence. Religious organizations and owner-occupied homes are exempt from such rules.
In New Jersey, you must have the consent of a tenant to enter rental premises. Specifically, you must provide your tenant with notice at least 24 hours before entry. The reason and the time of day for the entry must also be reasonable. For example:
- To make inspections of the unit.
- To show the unit to prospective tenants, lenders, and buyers.
- Under court orders.
- In case of an emergency.
As a New Jersey landlord, you must remain informed of the landlord-tenant laws as well as any other rental laws. If you would like help with this consider reaching out to the experts at Capital Street Management today!
Disclaimer: This post is only intended to be informational and isn’t a substitute for legal advice. For expert advice and help, consider reaching out to a property management company or a qualified attorney.