As a landlord in New Jersey, it’s crucial that you understand the landlord-tenant laws and how they apply to your lease agreement. In New Jersey, a written agreement can become legally binding whether in written or oral form. The agreement gives both parties certain rights and responsibilities. As a landlord, you obtain the right to enter your tenant’s premises under certain circumstances.
Your tenant, on the other hand, obtains the right to habitable housing and the right to be treated without discrimination.
Both parties also have a long list of responsibilities that they must adhere to. The following is a guide to the New Jersey landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in New Jersey
Landlords are required to disclose certain information to their tenants prior to allowing them to move in. Below are the mandatory disclosures landlords must provide as per state and federal laws:
- Lead-based paint: This is a federally required disclosure. All landlords in all fifty states must make this known to their tenants. However, this only applies to landlords renting out buildings built prior to 1978. Landlords are required to provide their tenants with information regarding lead-based paint concentrations in their unit
- Truth in renting: This is required at the state level. You must provide your tenant with a guide that informs them of their rights.
- Flood zone: This is also required at the state level. You must let a prospective tenant know whether or not the unit lies in a known flood zone.
- Child guard protective windows: The state law requires that you provide your tenant with this disclosure and provide them with protective window guards once requested through writing.
Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities in New Jersey
Tenants in New Jersey have the following rights:
- To be provided with the aforementioned disclosures prior to signing a lease agreement.
- To live in habitable housing.
- To live in peace without unnecessary disruptions.
- To have repairs done within a reasonable period of time.
- Should an eviction occur, to be evicted through a judicial legal system.
- To be treated fairly without being discriminated against on the basis of protected classes.
- To break the lease agreement under certain legally justified circumstances.
Tenant responsibilities in New Jersey include the following:
- To pay rent when it is due.
- To abide by all terms and policies of the lease agreement.
- To maintain all fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition.
- To make small repairs and perform minor maintenance.
- To report maintenance issues to the landlord on time.
- To not cause disturbance to other tenants or neighbors.
- To notify the landlord prior to moving out.
- To notify the landlord when going away for an extended period of time.
Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities in New Jersey
Landlords in New Jersey have the following rights as per the state’s landlord-tenant laws:
- To enter a tenant’s unit to perform needed or requested responsibilities.
- To enforce the terms of the lease agreement.
- To evict a tenant for violating the terms of the lease agreement.
- To require a tenant to pay a security deposit prior to moving in.
- To raise the rent amount as long as you have abided by the local rent control policy.
The list of responsibilities for New Jersey landlords are as follows:
- Ensuring that tenants live in a habitable rental property.
- Making repairs in a timely manner.
- Following the New Jersey eviction laws in order to successfully evict a tenant.
- Abiding by the state’s security deposit laws.
- Providing the tenant with a “reasonable” notice prior to entering their rented unit for maintenance.
- Providing tenants with the aforementioned disclosures.
Overview of New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in New Jersey have the right to enter their tenant’s rented unit. For maintenance purposes, you must provide your tenant a “reasonable” notice. “Reasonable” is usually taken to mean at least 24 hours.
Unless the lease prohibits it, a tenant can refuse to grant a landlord permission to enter their premises for a property showing.
Other than to show the property, other reasons for landlord entry include:
- Responding to an emergency
- Inspection of the unit
- Under a court order
- Property abandonment
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, religion, familial status, gender, disability, or nationality.
The New Jersey state law also provides extra protections on the basis of source of lawful income, sexual orientations, gender identity, domestic abuse victim status, marital status, ancestry, HIV/AIDS status, and source of lawful rental payments.
The government agency handling most housing complaints is the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Civil Rights.
More than 100 municipalities in New Jersey have active rental control laws. In these areas, landlords are required to provide their tenants with an advance notice of 30 days prior to raising rental prices. In addition, a landlord must also provide their tenant with a justification of why they must do so.
If a tenant disagrees with the rent increase, they can use that as a legally justified reason to break their lease.
New Jersey doesn’t limit landlords on the amount of late fees they can charge as long as they have clearly outlined them in the agreement.
Tenants who wish to break their lease are obligated to provide their landlords with certain notices. For tenants paying rent week-to-week, they must provide their landlords with a notice of at least 7 days. For those paying rent on a month-to-month basis, they must serve their landlords with a notice of at least one month. Those paying rent on a yearly basis must serve landlords with a 3 months’ advance notice prior to moving out.
Tenants may break their lease early for the following reasons:
- Domestic violence
- Landlord harassment
- Uninhabitable unit
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Health crisis
We hope this article has helped you understand your rights and responsibilities as a landlord in New Jersey. Staying updated on these laws and ensuring that you are always compliant takes a lot of work, but it is crucial to the success of your rental property
Still have questions? Abacus Avenue Property Management can help. We’re a professional and experienced property management company who know the ins and outs of New Jersey’s landlord-tenant law. Contact us today for a FREE rental analysis!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may become obsolete at the time you read it. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company.