Looking for clear and concise information on New Jersey landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the New Jersey Landlord Tenant Act.
NJ Landlord Tenant Law:
The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.
Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)]
For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:
The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.
In addition, New Jersey landlord tenant law disallows landlords from rejecting someone as a renter because of his or her creed, gender identity/expression, civil union status, affection/sexual orientation, ancestry, domestic partner status, source of lawful income or marital status (or change in marital status).
A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.
The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.
New Jersey landlord tenant law requires the landlord to disclose the following to the tenant:
According to New Jersey landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:
The following New Jersey security deposit laws do not apply to owner-occupied properties with two or less rental units. [NJ 46:8-21.2]
New Jersey landlord tenant law allows the landlord to ask for up to 1.5 month's rent as security deposit. [NJ 46:8-21.2]
If the tenant keeps a pet (that is not a *service animal), the landlord can ask for an additional pet deposit. This pet deposit can only be deducted for pet-related damages. *A service animal is an animal (usually a dog) that is trained to assist disabled people. [NJ 46:8-21.2]
New Jersey landlord tenant law requires landlords with 10 or more rental units to hold the tenant's deposit in a qualified money market account. Landlord with less than 10 rental units must hold the tenant's deposit in an interest-bearing account (insured by the federal government).
The landlord cannot combine security deposits with his or her own personal accounts.
Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, the landlord has to inform the tenant of the following in writing [NJ 46:8-19.(c)(1)]:
The tenant gets to keep any interest earned by the security deposit (unless he or she agrees to forgo it in the lease agreement).
New Jersey landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions. [NJ 46:8-19.(c)]
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under New Jersey landlord tenant law) include:
The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.
Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit and interest within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.
If the landlord fails to follow New Jersey landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times security deposit amount. [NJ 46:8-21.1]
If the amount is $5000 or less, the tenant can sue the landlord in small claims court. [NJ 46:8-21.4]
Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit (plus interest) and prepaid rent to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits (plus interest) and prepaid rents along with the property. [NJ 46:8-20]
The previous owner shall not be responsible for the security deposit and prepaid rent once he or she transfers them to the new owner. [NJ 46:8-21]
Newark, New Jersey NJ
The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the same day of every month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property.
There are no New Jersey landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments. [Truth in Renting: page 2]
If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.
Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.
If the landlord can demand for payment if he or she received a bad check or electronic fund payment from the tenant. If the tenant fails to pay up within 35 days of this demand, the tenant shall have to pay three times the payment amount (up to $500) plus legal fees and court costs. [NJ 2A:32A-1]
If the tenant is a senior citizen receiving social security or benefits (by Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income or Work First New Jersey), the landlord can only charge late fees if the tenant is more than five days late in paying rent.
According to the New Jersey Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can choose to raise the rent by any amount.
For a month to month tenancy, the landlord has to inform the tenant of a rent increase at least 30 days in advance. The tenant can then choose to pay the higher rent or move out. If the tenant chooses to leave, he or she should give the landlord a 30 day notice to terminate tenancy in writing. [Truth in Renting: page 1]
For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires.
The New Jersey Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [Truth in Renting: page 19-24]:
For multiple dwellings (e.g. condominiums, cooperatives, mutual housing corporations), the landlord has to maintain the following temperatures for all habitable rooms from 1 October to 1 May [NJ 5:10-14.4.(a)]:
If the landlord fails to maintain vital facilities, the tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent. The
tenant has to inform the landlord in writing that he or she intends
to fix the problem at the landlord's expense and give the landlord sufficient time to make repairs.
Examples of faulty vital facilities: broken toilts, broken windows, lack of hot/cold water, lack of heating, lack of electricity [New Jersey Habitability Bulletin: page 2] [56 N.J.130(1970)]
If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant can withhold all or part of the rent.
If the landlord tries to evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent, the tenant may use the landlord failing to provide a habitable residence as a defense. [New Jersey Habitability Bulletin: page 2] [NJ 2A:42-88]
According to New Jersey landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons:
In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property
with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [New Jersey Right of Entry Bulletin: page 2]
According to New Jersey landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:
There are no specific New Jersey landlord tenant laws on subletting.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
Jersey City, New Jersey NJ
Before terminating a tenancy, New Jersey landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance [NJ 2A:18-56]:
Week to week tenancy
Month to month tenancy
Year to year tenancy
If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:
Tenant or child is a victim of family violence
Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident
If the tenant or tenant's child is (OR might become) a victim of domestic violence, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord a written notice to quit 30 days in advance. [NJ 46:8-9.7]
This notice must include a statement (under oath or affirmation) that the tenant or tenant's child is (or might become) a victim of serious physical harm PLUS one of the following documents [NJ 46:8-9.6]:
If the property is partially damaged by fire, disasters or unavoidable accidents, the landlord must make repairs as soon as possible. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant won't have to pay any rent until the property is undergoing full repairs. [NJ 46:8-6]
If the property is totally destroyed, the lease shall terminate immediately and the tenant only has to pay rent up to the date of the fire or natural disaster. [NJ 46:8-7]
According to New Jersey landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:
Tenant did not pay rent
Tenant disturbed the peace and quiet of others
Tenant caused property damage due to abuse or negligence
Tenant violated tenancy agreement
If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a written notice to terminate the tenancy immediately.
However if the landlord has accepted late rent payment from the tenant before, the landlord has to give the tenant a 30 day written notice to pay rent or quit. [NJ 2A:18-61.2.(b)]
If the tenant is disturbing the peace and quiet of other tenants or occupants in the property or neighborhood, the landlord can send him or her a written notice to cease. [NJ 2A:18-61.1.(b)]
If the tenant ignores this notice to cease and continues his or her disorderly behavior, the landlord can send the tenant a written three day notice to terminate the tenancy. [NJ 2A:18-61.2.(a)]
If the tenant caused property damage due to abuse or negligence, the landlord can send
the tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [NJ 2A:18-61.2.(a)]
Even if the tenant offers to repair the damage, the landlord may still go ahead with the eviction.
If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement or landlord's rules in a *significant manner, the landlord can attempt to stop the tenant by sending the him or her a written notice to cease. *Significant manner often refers to situations that affects human health and safety. [NJ 2A:18-61.1.(e)]
If the tenant ignores this notice to cease and continues his or her violations, the landlord can send the tenant a written three
day notice to terminate the tenancy. [NJ 2A:18-61.2.(b)]
There are no specific New Jersey landlord tenant laws on when the property is considered abandoned by the tenant.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
The landlord has to send the tenant a written notice by first class mail to inform him or her of the abandoned belongings AND give the tenant at least 30 days to remove them. [NJ 2A:18-74]
The landlord can charge the tenant for the costs of moving and storing the abandoned belongings if the tenant chooses to recover them. [NJ 2A:18-75]
If the tenant does not recover the belongings within 30 days, the landlord can choose to destroy, dispose or sell the belongings. [NJ 2A:18-74]
The landlord may use revenue from the public sale to pay for the following:
Any leftover revenue should be paid to the tenant. If the tenant cannot be contacted, the landlord shall pay the leftover revenue to the Superior Court. [NJ 2A:18-80]
If the landlord violates New Jersey landlord tenant
laws on abandonment, the tenant can recover up to two times
the amount of actual damages and won't have to pay storage or moving costs for the belongings. [NJ 2A:18-82]
New Jersey Landlord Tenant Law: New Jersey Department of Community Affairs - Landlord Tenant Information
New Jersey Landlord Tenant Handbook: Truth in Renting - A Guide to the Rights and Responsibilities of Residential Tenants and Landlords in New Jersey
Eviction: Grounds for an Eviction Bulletin