New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Lawyer for Unique Issues
Unique Issues in New Jersey Landlord Tenant Law
Landlords face a number of challenges at every stage of the rental process, from evaluating tenants, to negotiating a favorable lease agreements, to maintaining the property over the course of the rental period, to resolving disputes in the event of nonpayment or abandonment.
At Griffin Alexander, P.C., we have served the New Jersey real estate market for several decades, having helped landlords, developers, and management companies with their advisory, transactional, and litigation-related needs in the landlord-tenant context. Contact a well-versed New Jersey landlord-tenant lawyer at our firm to learn more about how we can help.
Security Deposit Limitations
In New Jersey, landlords do not have absolute discretion when it comes to structuring a security deposit. Security deposits cannot be of an amount that is equal or more than 10 percent of the annual total for the rent payment (i.e., equivalent to one-and-a-half months of rent). This limitation can put landlords in a difficult position with respect to evaluating property damage risks posed by tenants, so they must be careful to protect themselves through comprehensive lease agreements that govern tenant behavior, inspections, and more.
Further, security deposits must be paid back with interest and in a timely manner. Security deposits must be returned within 30 days of the termination of the lease (or in emergency situations involving a fire, flood, or other disaster, within five days of the tenant leaving the property). A receipt must also be provided. Failure to comply with any of these requirements could lead to a penalty of up to two times the original security deposit amount, and the payment of counsel fees to the tenant’s attorney.
Restrictions and Allowances With Respect to Rental Payments
In the state of New Jersey, there are a number of unique rent restrictions that landlords must be aware of in case they run afoul of the law and give their tenant an actionable claim for damages. A New Jersey landlord-tenant lawyer at our firm can help ensure that you are fully aware of all relevant restrictions.
Consider the following:
Increasing the Rent
If you intend to increase the rent, you are required by law to serve the tenant with a written Notice to Quit and a notice of the rent increase. This notice must be at least 30 days before the increased rent will set in or in accordance with the lease agreement terms (whichever is shorter).
It’s important to note that New Jersey does not establish limits on the amount that you can increase rent (for non-rent-controlled properties). There may be local limits, however, so bear that in mind. Furthermore, New Jersey law prevents rent increases that would be considered unconscionable under the circumstances (i.e., accounting for the severity of the increase, against the landlord’s expenses).
In New Jersey, there is a minimum 5-day (business days) grace period that applies to late rental payments, but only to qualified tenants — specifically, seniors who are receiving Social Security benefits, pensions, and other related benefits.
Nonpayment Related to Repairs and Failure to Provide Essential Services
New Jersey tenants may withhold rent necessary to make necessary repairs of “vital facilities,” such as heating, plumbing, and other systems after notice to the landlord followed by a failure to make repairs. They may also withhold rent (without making repairs) if the landlord has failed to provide essential services, such as safe running water. The landlord cannot subsequently evict on the basis of this nonpayment.
Contact a New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Lawyer at Griffin Alexander, P.C. Today
Whether you are a landlord (residential/commercial), developer, or management company, the attorneys here at Griffin Alexander, P.C. can provide the end-to-end legal representation you need to handle whatever landlord-tenant issues you encounter. We have decades of experience working on such matters.
We handle advisory, transactional, and litigation-related matters for our clients. We have gained substantial insight into what it takes to minimize the risk of liability and — in the event of a serious dispute — how to resolve a conflict quickly, efficiently, and favorably.