A Guide to the Eviction Process in New Jersey

New Jersey landlord-tenant law grants landlords the right to evict a tenant under certain situations. Nonpayment of rent and lease violations top the list as the most common grounds for eviction.

As a landlord, you must follow the proper eviction process to remove a tenant from your property. Trying to remove a tenant in any other way other than through a court order will fail.

How long does an eviction take? Generally speaking, the tenant eviction process in NJ can take around three weeks to three months. The exact period will depend on a few factors, such as the reason for the eviction, and whether a tenant requests a jury trial.

Legal Cause for an Eviction Notice NJ

In the state of New Jersey, you must have a justified cause to start an eviction process. The following are legal causes for removing a tenant:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • History of delinquent rent
  • Failure to move out after the expiry of the lease term
  • Violation of the lease agreement
  • Discontinuance of use
  • Sale of the rental property
  • Conversion of the rental property into condominiums
  • Termination of employment
  • Failure to pay a rent increase
  • Engaging in illegal activity

Once you have such legal grounds, you must then proceed to serve the tenant with an eviction notice.

Evicting a tenant in NJ who fails to pay rent on time, you can move to court immediately. You wouldn’t need to serve the tenant any prior notice before filing an eviction lawsuit. 

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Please note, however, that there’s a five-day legal grace period in New Jersey. This period doesn’t include both weekends and holidays.

If the tenant doesn’t pay rent within the grace period, you can move forward with the eviction process by filing a lawsuit.

To evict a tenant who has a history of delinquency, you must serve them a Notice to Cease. A delinquent tenant is one who has paid rent late at least once after being served a demand for rent.

The notice simply warns the tenant to correct their habit of paying rent late. If the tenant continues paying rent late, you must serve them with a one month’s notice prior to moving to court.

To evict a tenant who has failed to move out after their lease has expired, you must serve them a one month’s notice. The same notice also applies to tenants who don’t have a lease.

If the notice expires and the tenant still remains on the property, you can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

To evict a tenant who has violated the lease, you must serve them a Notice to Cease first. This will alert the tenant that they need to stop doing so. Examples of common lease violations include parking in an unauthorized area, having an unauthorized pet, or failing to maintain a certain level of cleanliness.

If the tenant doesn’t correct the violation, you must serve them a one month’s notice to vacate. Once this period is over, you can continue with the eviction process.

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Do you wish to remove your property from the rental market? If so, you must serve the tenant with an eighteen months’ notice without the option to stay. You can continue with the eviction process if the tenant remains on the premises.

Do you wish to sell the property you’re renting out? If so, you must serve your tenant with a two-months’ notice without the option to stay. If the tenant stays after this period, you can proceed with the eviction.

Are you looking to convert the property into a condo or some other form of cooperative ownership? To do so, you must first serve your current tenant with a three years’ notice to leave. You can then move to court if they continue staying after the notice period is over.

Have you provided your tenant with a rental unit as part of their employment? If so, if they are no longer employed, you need to serve them with a three days’ notice prior to proceeding with the eviction.

If a tenant has failed to pay a rent increase, you can begin eviction proceedings against them by serving them a one month’s notice. If the tenant continues to stay after the notice period, you can proceed with the process.

If your tenant has engaged in illegal activity while on the rental premises, New Jersey allows landlords to evict a tenant for doing so, as well as for causing common nuisance. 

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To evict a tenant for causing common nuisance, you must first serve them a Notice to Cease. If they don’t correct the violation, you must then serve them a three days’ notice before moving forward with the eviction process.

For “irremediable” illegal activities, you must serve them a three days’ notice to vacate without the chance to fix the issue. These types of illegal activities include theft, human trafficking, and excessive property damage.

Court Hearing With New Jersey Eviction Laws

To continue with an NJ eviction process past the eviction notice, you must file a complaint with the Superior Court. Upon successful filing, the clerk will serve you with a copy of the summons and complaint. Another copy will then be sent to the tenant via a process server.

After issuance of the summons, the hearing will be held anywhere between ten and thirty days thereafter.

Warrant of Removal for an Eviction in NJ

For evictions in New Jersey, this is the final notice for the tenant to vacate their rental unit. It gives them an opportunity to take away their personal belongings before they can be forcibly removed.

It’s normally issued within three business days after a successful ruling.

Conclusion of NJ Eviction Laws

As a New Jersey landlord, it’s important to be aware of the laws surrounding eviction. This way, you can protect both your rights, as well as the rights of the tenant. You should also remain informed of security deposit laws and legally justified reasons for breaking a lease.

Do you still have more questions on how to handle an eviction in New Jersey? If so, Abacus Avenue Property Management can help! We’re qualified to assist you in all aspects of property management, from marketing your vacant unit, to screening prospective tenants. Get in touch to get started!

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs. 

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