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New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Laws

New Jersey Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for New Jersey landlords.  We summarize key New Jersey Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified for legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  New Jersey Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state-level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in New Jersey.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering New Jersey

New Jersey landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 8.9 million residents in New Jersey.  Major metropolitan markets in New Jersey are:

  1. Newark: Estimated population of 2,167,829, which 34% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,218.
  2. Jersey City: Estimated population of 2,106,419, which 38% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $2,986.
  3. Trenton: Estimated population of 369,811, which 37% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,271.
  4. Atlantic City: Estimated population of 265,429, which 35% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,031.
  5. Vineland: Estimated population of 149,527, which 34% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,053.
  6. Ocean City: Estimated population of 92,560, which 20% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,435.

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN NEW JERSEY

 

Does New Jersey require security deposits? 

New Jersey security deposit laws exclude owner-occupied properties not more than two rental units.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-26)

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in New Jersey? 

Receipts for security deposits are required within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.  Landlord is required to notificy the tenant of the name and address of the financial institution where the funds are deposited,  the current interest rate, and the amount of the deposit.  If the landlord moves deposits to a new account, the tenant must be notified within 30 days.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-19)

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in New Jersey? 

New Jersey sets a maximum of one-and-a-half month’s rent. (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-21.2)

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in New Jersey: 

Landlords are required to keep the security deposits in a separate account that is interest-bearing or dividend-yielding.  Landlords with 10 or more units shall deposit funds in shares of a qualified money market account.  Landlords with fewer than 10 rental units shall deposit funds in a federally insured interest-bearing account, at prevailing rates.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-19)

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in New Jersey? 

Landlords can not only commingle deposits with their personal funds.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-19)

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in New Jersey? 

Landlords do have to share the interest earned for deposits or pre-paid rent.  Interest can be paid in cash or be credited toward rent due on renewals or anniversary of tenant’s leases. (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-19)

 

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in New Jersey? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 30 days after the termination of the tenancy.  Plus any interest or accumulated earnings. (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-21.1)

Landlords must return the security deposit within 5 days if the tenant was displaced by a fire, flood, condemnation or evacuation.

As well, landlords must return the security deposit within 15 days if the tenant was a victim of domestic violence.

 

 

When can a landlord in New Jersey withhold a security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for:

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Tenant’s noncompliance of the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Duties
  • Unpaid utility bills

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

No Statute.  Total deposits collected cannot exceed one-and-a-half month’s rent.

 

Require a written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide a written and itemized list of damages sent via personal delivery, registered or certified mail.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-21.1)

 

What happens to New Jersey landlords that fail to comply with returning the security deposit?

The landlord is liable to the tenant an amount equal to the twice of the amount of deposit, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.  (N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-21.1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN NEW JERSEY

 

Rental agreements required in New Jersey:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online New Jersey rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in New Jersey?

New Jersey requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Must:  Conditions of occupancy
  • Must:  Description of the rental unit
  • Must:  Provision defining automatic renewal
  • Must:  Insurance on tenant’s personal belongings and crime insurance
  • Must:  Policy on kerosene heaters
  • Must:  Late Fees and Penalties
  • Must:  Landlords name, address and phone number
  • Rent Amount and Due Date.
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Tenants name, address and phone number
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Occupancy by children or pets
  • Required deposits and the conditions for their refund
  • Inspection rights by the landlord
  • Other fees
  • Address of rental property
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Subleasing policy
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees

 

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in New Jersey: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Must provide at least 3 month’s written notice for Year-to-Year leases with no end date. (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-56(a))

Month-to-Month: Must provide at least 30 day’s written notice prior to a periodic rent due date. (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-56(b))  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: Must provide at least 7 day’s written notice prior to a periodic rent due date. (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-56(c))

 

Do leases automatically renew:

Landlords must provide the following provision in the lease agreement:

“If Tenant wishes to terminate this Lease at the end of its original term, [he or she] must give Landlord written notice at least [specify, e.g., if term is monthly: 30; if term is yearly: 90] days before the end of the term. This notice must be in writing and must be sent by certified mail or personally delivered to Landlord at the address at the top of this Lease. AN ORAL NOTICE IS NOT SUFFICIENT. If written notice of Tenant’s intention to terminate this Lease is not given to Landlord within the time noted above, the Lease shall AUTOMATICALLY RENEW as a month-to-month tenancy on the same terms and conditions as contained in this Lease.”

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords must provide a 30 day written notice to increase the rent amount.  However, before rent can be effectively increased, the landlord shall give the tenant a written Notice to Quit along with the notice of rent increase.  Local rent control ordinances may vary.  (New Jersey – Rent Increase Bulletin )

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

New Jersey requires a 5 business day grace period, any day other than a Saturday, Sunday or state/federal holiday.  This grace period only applies to (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:42-6.1 and N.J. Stat §§ 2A:42-6.3):

  • If the dwelling is rented to senior citizens receiving Social Security or other old age pensions
  • If the dwelling is rented by recipients of Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income or benefits under Work First New Jersey

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

Landlords are allowed to collect prepaid rent, no statute defining the limits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN NEW JERSEY

Late Fees for Residential:

New Jersey does not state any legal requirements for late fees.  Landlords can charge a reasonable late fee / penalty. Penalties and fees should be written into the lease agreement.  (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 2))

 

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In New Jersey, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in New Jersey?

New Jersey allows the landlord to immediately begin the eviction process once rent is past due.  Except for the tenants covered by the grace period, which then requires a 30 day notice.  (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-61.2)

 

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 30 day notice to remedy or cure the violation. Only 3 days notice for disorderly conduct or injury to the property.  (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-61.2)

 

 

What happens if tenant holdovers past the expiration of lease?

If a tenant remains occupying the rental unit after the expiration of the lease or notice to quit, tenants can be penalized double the normal rent for as many months as they remained.  (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-5 and 2A:42-6)

 

 

NEW JERSEY LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

New Jersey requires landlords to provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so. 

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

New Jersey state landlords must be given notice of defects and a reasonable opportunity to make repairs.

 

Can tenants withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

New Jersey allows the tenant to repair deficiencies in “vital facilities” and deduct the amount from the rent.  Vital facilities may include no hot or cold water, lack of heating or electricity, broken windows.  Tenants cannot have caused the deficiency and must provide notice in writing.  (New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin (Page 2))

If the landlord neglects repairs and allows the property to become unsafe, unfit, or unsuitable for occupancy then the tenants may break the lease without penalties for constructive eviction.

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include:

  • Remain in compliance with all applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety
  • Keep all common areas of the property in a clean and safe condition
  • Provide at all times running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat between October 1 and May 1.  Except when the building is not required by law to be equipped for such purpose. 

According to (N.J. Stat §§ 5:10-14.4(a))

 

 

NEW JERSEY TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

There are no specific statutes stating tenant duties.  However, generally, tenants must dispose of all rubbish and garbage, refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures, meet all obligations lawfully by the code enforcement agency, refrain from willfully destroying or damaging the structure, take in additional occupants, rent or sublease without the owner’s consent.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In New Jersey, it is illegal for landlords to cause the tenant to quit the rental unit involuntarily.  Landlords face six months of jail time if they are convicted of ‘disorderly conduct’. (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 26))

Are landlords allowed to lockout tenants by changing locks?

The landlord cannot change or remove the doors or locks.  (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 26))

 

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.  (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 26))

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

No Statute.

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

New Jersey laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to the government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has in goof faith complained to the landlord of a violation
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

 

New Jersey does not define a period after an event that would result in retaliating actions.  (N.J. Stat §§ 2A:42-10.10 – N.J. Stat §§ 10.14)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Victims of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking are allowed to terminate the rental agreement by providing a written 30 day notice.  Upon request, the victim must provide proof with written verification.  (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 6-7))

 

Landlords must return the security deposit within 15 days from termination, plus the tenant’s portion of interest or accumulated earnings.  As well, landlords are prohibited from disclosing information documenting domestic violence.

If you are a victim, please search The New Jersey Department of Children and Families site for a helpline:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

New Jersey does not have any statewide laws regarding locks for landlords.  The tenant cannot remove, replace or add a lock without the written permission from the landlord.  If the tenant does with permission, they must provide the landlord with a key. 

Landlords are required to provide window latches, window guards, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

New Jersey does provide specific standards and cords for tenants in housing projects.

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN NEW JERSEY NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in New Jersey.

Landlords and owners of residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city-specific laws. Baltimore in particular has regulations for licensing.

The New Jersey Housing Bureau Inspection requires a five-year safety inspection for hotels and multiple-family buildings with three or more units.  (Bureau of Housing Inspection)

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN NEW JERSEY

Do landlords in New Jersey have to provide notice of entry? 

New Jersey requires the landlord to provide reasonable notice (usually one day).   (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2)

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees, or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords may enter due to an emergency.  (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2)

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes, with proper notice and performed at reasonable hours.  (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2)

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes, with proper notice.  (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2)

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes, when there is an immediate threat to the safety or health of persons using or near the premises. (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2)

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticides?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW JERSEY SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  Otherwise, the tenant may sublet the rental unit.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN NEW JERSEY

 

New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Laws state a landlord must store personal property.  Tenants have 30 days after being notified or 33 days after the mailing date of notification, whichever occurs first.  Upon expiration of the 30 or 33 days, the landlord may dispose of or sell the property.   (N.J. Stat §§2A:18-72 through N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-84)

Tenant’s property is considered abandoned if the tenant provides notice to the landlord about removing property by a specific date and fails to remove property within 15 days of that written response.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR NEW JERSEY LEASES

 

New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

 

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-19 through 26 – Security Deposit Law

N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-27 through 37 – Landlord Identity Law

N.J. Stat §§ 46:8-43 through 50 – Truth-in-Renting Act

N.J. Stat §§ 2A:42-10.10 through 14 – Reprisal Law

N.J. Stat §§ 2A:18-53 through 84 – Evictions

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

New Jersey Tenants Organization

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – New Jersey

New Jersey Real Estate Commission

 

 

NEW JERSEY RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

New Jersey Small Claims Court Limits:

$3,000 is the limit for small claims court. 

 

 

New Jersey Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.  All eviction cases are heard at the Superior Court, Special Civil Part.

New Jersey Courts

New Jersey Courts – Landlord/Tenant Section

New Jersey Attorney General

 

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