New Jersey Landlord & Tenant Rights

By Luanne Kelchner

New Jersey law protects both tenants and landlords in a rental agreement. A landlord has responsibilities when renting a property to a tenant, such as maintaining the property. Tenants, in turn, have a responsibility to keep the property in clean condition and to notify the landlord when repairs must be made. New Jersey limits the amount of security deposits a landlord can require and it regulates the amount of notice a tenant must give when moving out of an apartment or other rental property.

Public Assistance

It is against the law in New Jersey to refuse to rent to a tenant who will make payments with public assistance. This includes section 8 vouchers, welfare, and disability assistance.

Rent Security Deposit Act

Security deposits protect the landlord's interests when renting an apartment or home to a tenant. The money held by the landlord may be used to repair damage caused by the tenant or to cover rent that is not paid. New Jersey regulates the amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit to one and a half times the rent. The deposit cannot be raised to meet a higher rent by more than 10 percent in a year.

The landlord must put the security deposit in an interest bearing account and provide the tenant with the name of the bank, the amount of the deposit, the date, the amount of interest paid and the type of account. The interest on the account must be paid to the tenant on the anniversary of the lease date. The amount can also be deducted from rent owed on the one-year anniversary. The tenant has the right to request the security deposit money be used for rent if the landlord does not comply with these laws.

The landlord returns the security deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out of the property, plus any interest owed at that time. Landlords can deduct any amounts for damage to the property that is not normal wear and tear.

Causes for Eviction

New Jersey eviction for cause law limits landlords to evicting tenants based on 18 causes defined by the law. The causes for eviction include such actions as failure to pay rent, engaging in illegal activity, violating the lease agreement, or disorderly conduct that disturbs the peace of other tenants. The landlord is required to give notice and follow the legal procedure for an eviction in New Jersey.

Repairs

New Jersey law requires landlords to keep a rental property in safe and habitable condition. This includes the windows, heating system, roof, walls, electrical system and the hot and cold running water. Apartments must be kept free of pests and the building kept secure.

The landlord is responsible for the removal of lead paint on the property in New Jersey. Tenants may use rent money to make repairs under specific conditions such as a condition that affects the health of the tenant. The landlord must be given prior notice of the condition before a tenant can make those repairs and before he can deduct their cost from his rent.

Right to Enter the Apartment

The landlord does not have the right to enter an apartment without giving at least 24 hours notice. This includes workers sent to make repairs in the apartment. In an emergency situation where a landlord must gain access to the apartment, the 24-hour law is waived.

Giving Notice

Tenants must give advance notice of one month before the end of a lease when ending a yearly lease agreement. One-month notice is also required for a month-to-month tenancy in New Jersey. Landlords may hold a tenant responsible for remaining rent on a lease if the tenant moves out before it expires.

Withholding Rent

New Jersey allows tenants to withhold rent under special circumstances, such as the landlord refusing to make repairs on the property. Tenants must give written notice to the landlord of the intent to withhold rent if the repairs are not made. The notice should be sent by certified mail requiring the signature of the landlord.

The money withheld from the landlord should be set aside for payment when the repairs are made.

About the Author

Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.