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So You Found Your Perfect Rental Unit… Rights and Responsibilities Under Residential Leases

Posted October 22, 2017

Once you’ve found the perfect home and are approved to become a tenant, you’ll be asked to sign a lease that will contain the terms and conditions of your relationship with the landlord. Even if you’ve done it before, it’s useful to understand the basics of this type of agreement. You do have legal obligations and rights as a tenant, which is especially important considering that this contract relates to the space you’ll be calling home. Here are the basics you need to know but discuss your circumstances with a lawyer for specifics.

Rent Details

Your lease agreement should cover all details about payment of rent to your landlord, including:

  • The monthly rental amount;
  • The date upon which rent is due;
  • Where you should send or deliver rent;
  • The consequences and fees that apply if you pay late; and,
  • What happens if your check bounces.

Along with your lease, you should receive a statement of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as required by New Jersey’s “Truth in Rent” law.

Security Deposit

State law limits the amount that a landlord can hold as a security deposit under your lease. The maximum he or she can request is 1.5 times the rental amount for the first year that you’re a tenant.  

In addition, the lease must state when the landlord is required to return the security deposit to the tenant, usually 30 days after you leave the leased premises.

Grounds for Eviction

Tenants can only be evicted for one of the enumerated grounds under the Anti-Eviction Act. A landlord must establish one of these reasons in court before you can actually be evicted from the leased premises.

Contact a Residential Lease Attorney for More Details

These general details should be helpful, but you should consult with a lawyer if you have specific concerns about your residential lease. The legal implications can be complex and you put your rights at risk if you don’t understand the basics of how leases work. Before you sign, discuss your circumstances with a qualified attorney who will explain your obligations and rights. The lawyers at Foss, San Filippo & Milne, LLC can assist with lease issues, so please contact our New Jersey offices at 732-741-2525 for more information.