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According to recent statistics, about 36.65% of the population in New Jersey are renters. This makes it essential for every lease agreement to comply with local and state laws to keep a healthy and safe leasing relationship between the landlord and tenant.

One of the primary reasons why some tenancies end in legal disputes in court is that the parties involved don't know the specific rules and guidelines of their state's landlord-tenant law; this leads to misunderstandings between the landlord and tenant. If you want to keep the process as legal as possible during the lease term, you need to make sure that you understand the New Jersey landlord-tenant law.

In this article, we're going to go through the fundamentals of the New Jersey landlord-tenant law to clear up any essential information that you may have pending. While this is an overview of the basics of these laws in the New Jersey state, we suggest you seek legal advice if you need some help tailored to your tenancy case.

What is the New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Law?

According to New Jersey law, it's a list of the general guidelines that landlords and tenants have to follow. All of these rules and rights can be found in the "New Jersey Statutes." Keep in mind that these are general rules that may vary depending on the property's local jurisdiction.

On the other hand, the landlord may specify some of their own rules to the rental agreement (as long as they're compliant with the New Jersey landlord-tenant law).

What Does a Rental Agreement in NJ Have to Include?

According to New Jersey landlord-tenant law, rental agreements may be specified orally or in written form. If the tenancy is longer than 12 months, the local landlord-tenant law requires the landlord to draft a written lease.

It's important to note that most lease agreements in New Jersey are given in written form since they serve as physical proof of all the conditions, rules, and rights that every party has during the lease agreement. If the landlord or the tenant fails to comply with any of these guidelines, they can use the lease document in a court of law to support their claims.

Is NJ a Landlord-Friendly State?

New Jersey is not generally considered a landlord-friendly state since there are many rent control policies that can affect how a landlord charges and increases rent for their property. On the other hand, New Jersey landlord-tenant law offers many rights to the tenant that can benefit them if any dispute goes to a court of law.

What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?

Rights

According to New Jersey landlord-tenant law, landlords have the right to collect rent payments when they're due, use the security deposits to cover damages that exceed normal wear and tear and provide safe eviction procedures if the tenant fails to pay rent or violates the lease.

Responsibilities

Landlords must provide the tenant with habitable housing without discrimination based on their race, religion, nationality, color, etc. Additionally, landlords must comply with any repair request that the tenant makes during the lease. There's no required minimum time for repairs, but it's assumed for the landlord to promptly provide these repairs.

According to New Jersey landlord-tenant law, if the landlord fails to provide the required repairs on time, the tenant can choose to withhold rent, deduct repairing costs from rent payments, or seek legal help in a court of law.

What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?

Rights

Tenant rights grant them the ability to seek housing without any kind of discrimination from their landlord, as well as to ensure habitable housing conditions.

New Jersey landlord-tenant law also allows tenants to request property repairs on time. If the landlord fails to provide these repairs, tenant rights allow them to stop paying rent until the fixes are made.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a tenant in New Jersey don't vary much from other states. Generally speaking, the New Jersey landlord-tenant law requires them to comply with the following guidelines:

  • Keep the property's utilities and fixtures in good condition.
  • Pay rent on time.
  • Provide a quiet environment for other tenants or neighbors.
  • Make small fixes if needed by the property.

Primary Clauses

Rent Payments in New Jersey

As specified by the New Jersey landlord-tenant law, landlords may charge any amount of rent that they consider appropriate for their property since there isn't any state-wide limit on rent prices.

Rent Control Policies

While there aren't any state-wide limits on rent prices, New Jersey permits local jurisdictions to impose rent control policies in their area. As a result of this rule, approximately 100 municipalities in the state have imposed rent control policies. To make sure if your local jurisdiction has some kind of rent control policy for your property, check with your housing authority.

Rent Increases

If the leased property is affected by rent control policies, the New Jersey landlord-tenant law requires landlords to provide at least 30 days' notice before raising the price of rent.

Late Fees

Additional fees are not required by the New Jersey landlord-tenant law, but they are allowed as a form of motivating tenants to pay on time. Additionally, landlords may request a fee for bounced checks after 35 days of receiving the payment; this fee may not be higher than three times the check's value.

Grace Periods

There is an established grace period for senior citizens who live in New Jersey. In these cases, the lease may include a clause in which the landlord cannot charge fees until the rent is five business days beyond the due date.

Security Deposits in New Jersey

Landlords usually collect security deposits in New Jersey as a "safety" measure against unexpected events. While the New Jersey landlord-tenant laws don't require landlords to do this, most of them do.

If the landlord decides to collect security deposits, its value shouldn't be higher than one and a half months' rent. However, this deposit clause doesn't apply to owner-occupied rentals that have less than two units.

Security Deposit Returns

Every tenant in New Jersey has the right to get their security deposit returned whenever they move out of the rental property. In these cases, the security deposit must be returned within 30 days of the tenant leaving the unit. If the tenant was displaced from the rental unit due to fires, floods, or evacuations, they might get the security deposit in five days.

If the tenant was a domestic violence victim, the landlord must provide the security deposit in fifteen days. However, the tenant must provide proof of the domestic violence in their rental unit to get the deposit in time.

Withholding a Security Deposit

According to New Jersey landlord-tenant laws, the landlord may withhold the security deposit in the following cases:

  • Unpaid rent or utility bills.
  • Breaches in the lease.
  • Damages that exceed regular wear and tear.

In these cases, landlords must provide the tenant with a list of the deductions from the security deposit in the 30 days following the tenant's departure from the rental.

Lease Termination Clauses in New Jersey

Tenants in New Jersey can terminate the lease if they desire. However, they must send a particular amount of notice, depending on the type of lease.

Here's an overview of the minimum amount of notice needed by landlords:

  • Weekly Lease - Seven days of notice.
  • Monthly Lease - 30 days of notice.
  • Yearly Lease - 90 days of notice.

Alternatively, tenants can break a lease before it ends for any of the following reasons:

  • Landlord harassment or domestic violence.
  • Health issues.
  • Early termination clauses.
  • Active military duty.
  • Unacceptable living conditions.

It's important to note that according to New Jersey landlord-tenant laws, tenants may still have to pay the remainder of the term if they leave early.

Eviction Clauses in New Jersey

Landlords may choose to send a notice for eviction to their tenant in these cases:

  • Breaches in contract terms.
  • Nonpayment of rent.
  • Criminal activity.
  • Disorderly conduct.

If the tenants were involved in illegal activities, landlords must send a three-day notice to quit the rental premises.

See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for New Jersey.

eviction process and laws for New Jersey

Is It Permitted to Evict a Tenant in Retaliation in New Jersey?

No. It's prohibited by New Jersey landlord-tenant laws to evict tenants in retaliatory or discriminatory actions.

Landlords' Rights to Entry in New Jersey

New Jersey landlord-tenant laws require the landlord to send a reasonable amount of notice before entering the premises. If the landlord shows up to the rental without any notice, the tenant has enough rights to refuse entry.

In cases of emergencies, the landlord doesn't have to send any kind of notice before entering.

Housing Discrimination Policies

The New Jersey Attorney General's Division of Civil Rights and the Fair Housing Act offer information regarding discrimination protection and rights for tenants. According to these laws, the landlord cannot discriminate against their tenant because of their:

  • Race.
  • Color.
  • National origin.
  • Sex.
  • Gender identity.
  • Familial status.

Mandatory Disclosures

Yes! New Jersey landlord-tenant laws offer information on some essential clauses that should always be included in a rental contract. Read below for more information on these disclosures:

Lead-Based Paint

New Jersey landlord-tenant laws require landlords to specify information regarding lead paint concentrations in the rental if it was built before 1978. Landlords must also give the tenant a copy of EPA's pamphlet.

Crime Insurance

Landlords have to present information regarding the Federal Crime Insurance Program of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970.

Flood Zone

The landlord must inform the tenant in New Jersey if the apartment is a potential flood zone.

Certificate of Registration

Landlord-tenant laws require landlords in New Jersey to give the tenant a registration certificate up to 30 days after signing the contract.

Conclusion

At first glance, it may seem like the landlord-tenant laws in New Jersey are overwhelming. However, if you follow each guideline carefully, you're going to ensure a great landlord-tenant relationship.

Consider asking advice from a lawyer if you need any more data regarding landlord-tenant laws in New Jersey.

FAQs

Are landlords required to provide a certificate of registration?

Landlord-tenant laws require landlords in New Jersey to give the tenant a registration certificate up to 30 days after signing the contract.

Does the landlord have to disclose information about being in a flood zone?

The landlord must inform the tenant in New Jersey if the apartment is a potential flood zone.

Is the landlord required to disclose information about the use of lead based paint on the property?

New Jersey landlord-tenant laws require landlords to specify information regarding lead paint concentrations in the rental if it was built before 1978. Landlords must also give the tenant a copy of EPA's pamphlet.

Resources

  1. Landlord-Tenant Law in New Jersey
David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his two children, he's writing articles here!