There are statewide and municipal regulations in New Jersey governing the legality of rent increases.
In New Jersey, there is statewide (statutory) limitations on the monetary amounts for rent increases on market rate apartments. Put another way, there is no “hard limit.”
However, there are statewide limitations on rental increases that regulate the applicability of municipal ordinances.New Jersey contains statutes that provide an exemption from rent control for newly constructed apartment buildings and therefore limit the applicability of municipal ordinances.
Case law further regulates landlords by prohibiting “unconscionable” rent increases. Rental increases that “shock the conscience” of a reasonable person under the circumstances would be disallowed. Whether a rent increase is unconscionable is dependent on a number of factors that include the rent increase amount itself, the landlord’s existing profits, the dynamics between the landlord and tenant, whether a reasonable person would be taken aback by the rent increase, and whether the unit is comparable (from a rent perspective) to other units in the area after the rent increase.
Municipalities may impose limitations on rental increases in ordinances. As explained above, however, the applicability of these ordinances is regulated by state law. For example, a municipal ordinance may make it illegal for landlords to increase the rent more than 10 percent on an annual basis. Some municipal ordinances also limit rental increases by using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) index for its calculations. If state law does not limit the applicability of the municipal ordinance, then the municipal ordinance applies and limits the landlord to a 10 percent increase.
If you are a New Jersey landlord interested in raising your rents, but are concerned about the implications of statewide and municipal regulations, then we encourage you to contact our firm. Working with a qualified attorney early on can help you avoid problems later down the road.
Here at Griffin Alexander, P.C., our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of residential and commercial landlords in disputes with their tenants, including scenarios that involve significant rent increases. We understand the challenges that landlords face in New Jersey — and elsewhere — and how best to approach a dispute so as to minimize the potential for conflict and secure a favorable resolution.
Call (973) 366-1188 or request an appointment online to connect to an attorney here at Griffin Alexander, P.C. who has experience in handling disputes relating to New Jersey landlord tenant law.
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