The New Jersey Rental Lease Agreements are legal agreements, that allow a property owner or manager to temporarily transfer control of their property over to a tenant. There are many different kinds of leases, which vary based on what kind of tenancy they cover and how long they run. A Real Estate Broker License is required if someone wishes to sell or lease property in New Jersey.
Each lease is unique, either to the property or (more rarely) to the tenant. As such, each lease should be read carefully, to minimize the chances of violating the lease due to inattention to detail or misunderstandings. Residential leases are required to contain simple, clear language, but can still be quite complex to a layman. Any questions about specific clauses and provisions should be directed at the tenant’s landlord.
Form Description Types
New Jersey Rental Laws
- New Jersey Statutes Annotated, Title 46-8
Almost all landlords will want to charge a security deposit, to pay for any reasonable wear and tear a property will endure during a tenancy. In New Jersey, the most a landlord can charge for a deposit is one and a half (1.5) month’s rent. A New Jersey landlord can also collect an annual deposit for every year the tenant remains on the property, but this can be no greater than ten (10) percent of the original deposit. A landlord is required to return the deposit within thirty (30) days of the tenant vacating the property.
A lease will spell out all of the rules regarding rent, including when it is due, how much, and where it must be delivered. New Jersey is one of only a handful of states with rent controlled communities, but these are only in specific cities and town (roughly one hundred (100) statewide, such as Jersey City or Newark) and vary from town to town, so a tenant should be aware of any local laws affecting how much a landlord can charge for rent.
If the tenant fails to pay rent on time and in full, they may accrue a late fee. Under New Jersey state law, if the premise is occupied by a senior citizen receiving government assistance (such as Social Security) the landlord must wait until the rent is five (5) days late before charging a late fee. Otherwise, there is no limit to when a landlord can charge a late fee or how much it can be, but a late fee policy must be spelled out in the lease for a fee to be valid.
Under a Month to Month Lease, a landlord must give the tenant thirty (30) days written notice before increasing the rent in any way. In a One Year Lease, the landlord cannot alter the rent in any way until the lease has terminated and been renegotiated, unless a provision in the lease itself allows for a rent increase.
If a New Jersey tenant violates the lease in such a way that the lease specifies will result in an eviction, the landlord can serve the tenant with written notice, at which point the tenant will have three (3) days to move out before the landlord files for eviction.
If the tenant commits a significant legal violation, such as assaulting the landlord or property manager, causing major damage to the property, allowing or participating in illegal activity on the property within the last two (2) years, etc, the landlord may file an Unconditional Quit Notice that gives the tenant three (3) days to move out before filing for eviction. If the tenant regularly fails to pay rent, continually violates the rules of the lease despite warnings from the landlord or refuses to accept alterations to the lease, the landlord can file an Unconditional Quit Notice that gives the tenant one (1) month to move out.
In any of these cases, once the allotted amount of time has expired, the landlord can seek an Eviction Notice from a judge, who will invite the tenant to defend themselves. Until a tenant has been served with an Eviction Notice, the landlord cannot try to force them out. Methods of trying to force the tenant out include, but are not limited to, removing the tenant’s property, changing locks, installing a deadbolt, tampering with utilities.
A combination of federal and state laws makes rental discrimination against the following groups illegal:
- race, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, creed, religion, sex, family status, marital or domestic partnership status, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability
Landlord’s Right to Enter
New Jersey has no state laws regarding a landlord’s right to enter, and it is thus governed by Common Law. A landlord should typically give the tenant at least twenty four (24) hours notice before entering a property, and can only enter at a reasonable time. These are, of course, suspended during an emergency, and a landlord can then enter without consent or notice.