FAQs on Residential Evictions in New JerseyPosted October 12, 2017
If you are a residential landlord looking to regain possession of rental property, or if you are a tenant who has been asked to relocate or vacate your home, you should consider seeking legal advice quickly. Landlords cannot remove a tenant for just any reason. There are limited grounds to regain possession, and knowing what your rights are will save you time and money.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about evictions in New Jersey, but you should seek legal counsel for more information on how the law applies to you.
Can landlords evict tenants for non-payment of rent?
Yes. Non-payment of rent is the most common and most likely reason tenants are evicted from their premises. However, tenants who are brought to court, for this reason, may raise habitability defenses and claim that their rent should be offset because some aspect of the property is uninhabitable. For example, tenants may claim that there is no heat in the winter. Tenants are still required to post all of the back rent with the court before the judge decides those issues, however.
Can landlords evict even if their tenants are paying the rent?
Yes. There are limited grounds to evict tenants, however, if they are current on their rent. The law designates these reasons, and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs provides helpful information to both landlords and tenants. Additional reasons to evict tenants may include:
- Habitual late payment of rent;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Damage to the leased unit;
- Violation of the landlord’s rules as stated in the lease; and
- Conviction of certain drug offenses or theft offenses on the property.
Do landlords need to provide written notice before filing an eviction complaint?
Sometimes. Tenants have the right to know exactly why the landlord is seeking eviction unless the removal is due to nonpayment of rent. The landlord is required to deliver a “Notice to Quit” document that lays out the grounds for your eviction; these grounds must fall within the reasons listed by law. This document does not serve as a formal eviction, however; the landlord must still obtain a Judgment for Possession before expulsion is considered legal.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me?
If you operate under a business entity, the court rules require that you have an attorney. Even if you do not, we strongly advise you to consult with a lawyer about your case.
We Are Here To Help
The eviction process is complex under New Jersey law, and a lawyer will help protect your rights. If you have questions or would like to hear more about your options, please contact the law offices of Foss, San Filippo & Milne, LLC at 732-741-2525. We can set up a consultation to discuss your situation.