When seeking to evict a tenant in New Jersey, a landlord must follow specified standards and processes. Terminating the lease or rental agreement is one of the initial steps in evicting a renter. In certain instances, the landlord is required to provide notice to the tenant prior to terminating the lease. In other instances, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant directly in court.
NOTICE FOR TERMINATION WITH CAUSE
In New Jersey, a landlord must have a cause or a legal basis to terminate a lease early. The most frequent grounds for a landlord to terminate a tenancy early are nonpayment of rent, violation of the lease or rental agreement, or commission of unlawful conduct on the premises. In the majority of these instances, the landlord is required to offer notice to the renter. The sort of notice that is necessary (or is not required) will vary according to the cause for termination.
The landlord is not obligated to provide notice to the tenant if they are evicted for nonpayment of rent, as long as the landlord does not accept late rent from the tenant on a regular basis. If the tenant does not pay rent on time, the landlord may go immediately to court and file an eviction case against the tenant, thus terminating the lease.
MAJOR REASONS FOR TERMINATION WITH CAUSE
No lessee or tenant, or their assigns, subtenants, or legal representatives, may be evicted by the Superior Court from any house, building, mobile home park, or tenement leased for residential purposes, except [A.] owner-occupied premises with no more than two rental units, or a hotel, motel, or other guest house or portion thereof rented to a transient guest or seasonal tenant; or [B.] a dwelling unit held in trust for another lessee or tenant. There needs to be a good cause for eviction.
Any portion of rent unpaid by a tenant to the landlord but used by a tenant to continue utility service to the rental premises after receiving notice from an electric, gas, water, or sewer public utility that such service was in danger of discontinuance based on nonpayment by the landlord, will not be deemed unpaid rent. A good cause for eviction would be that in spite of a notice to stop, the person has persisted in acting in such a way that it has disrupted the tranquility of the residents or other tenants of the property. This is also true for when intentional or extreme carelessness has resulted in or permitted the property to be damaged, defaced, or destroyed. Essentially, when a tenant continues to violate or break any of the landlord’s rules and regulations on the premises, even after receiving a notice to stop, it is considered a violation of the landlord’s rights.
A reasonable covenant or agreement should be included in the lease for the premises where a landlord’s right of reentry is reserved in the lease for a violation of such a covenant or agreement has been violated or breached by the person after written notice to cease such violations or breaches. ‘Substantially’ means that the person has violated or breached any of the covenants or agreements in the lease for the premises pertaining to illegal uses of controlled dangerous substances, or any other illegal activities. Regardless of the landlord has a right of reentry reserved in the lease for the violation of such covenant or agreement, in public housing under the control of a public housing authority or redevelopment agency, the person can be evicted if they conduct illegal and dangerous activities.
In the absence of a legitimate notice to vacate and a notification of an increase in rent, if the person has failed to pay the rent – provided the increase in rent is not unconscionable and is in accordance with all applicable laws and local regulation- then this is good cause for eviction. When cited by housing inspectors for serious violations impacting the health and safety of tenants, and the owner cannot afford to correct the problems, a landlord or owner may decide to board up or demolish the property. Alternatively, they may decide to comply with housing inspectors’ orders for repairs, even if doing so would put them at risk of losing their rental income, then the landlord can evict said tenant.
The eviction does not apply if the owner wishes to permanently retire a residential building or mobile home park from a residential use or use as a mobile home park. At lease termination, the landlord or owner makes reasonable modifications to the terms and circumstances of a rental agreement, including any extension of the lease term. The tenant declines to accept these changes after receiving written notice.
After receiving a formal cease-and-desist order, the individual has consistently and illegally refused to make timely rent payments. Landlords and mobile home park owners may convert their properties to condominiums, cooperatives, and fee simple ownership of at least two units. An order to take possession will not be issued until a tenant is removed in accordance with this clause. The ‘Senior Citizens and Handicapped Protected Tenancy Act’ prohibits eviction actions against tenants who are either senior citizens or disabled and have a protected tenancy status.
The owner of a building or mobile home park that was constructed as a condominium, cooperative, or fee simple ownership or is currently undergoing conversion seeks to evict a tenant or sublessee whose initial tenancy began after the master deed, agreement establishing the cooperative, or subdivision plat was recorded, because the owner has contracted to sell the unit to a buyer who seeks to, and the contract for sale requires that the unit be empty at the time of closing.
WHAT IS A THREE-DAY NOTICE TO QUIT
The landlord may issue the renter a three-day notice to vacate in certain circumstances. The tenant has no right to address any infractions or inappropriate conduct. The three-day notice must warn the tenant that the landlord will terminate the lease or rental agreement and initiate eviction proceedings against the tenant at the conclusion of the three days due to the tenant’s stated conduct. The landlord may serve by New Jersey Process Server the tenant a three-day notice to quit in case of [A.] disorderly conduct; [B.] destruction of the landlord’s property; [C.] conviction for use, possession, or manufacture of an illegal drug, or [D.] assaults or threats against the landlord.
THIRTY-DAY NOTICE TO QUIT
The landlord may serve by New Jersey Process Service a thirty-day notice to vacate if the tenant continues to breach the lease or rental agreement after repeated warnings, or if the renter pays rent late on a regular basis. The thirty-day notice must warn the tenant that if the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement or pays rent late on a consistent basis, the landlord will terminate the rental agreement and file an eviction action against the tenant at the conclusion of the thirty-day period
EVICTION WITHOUT CAUSE
If a landlord does not have legal grounds to evict a tenant, the owner must wait until the lease ends before expecting the renter to go. Depending on the form of lease, however, the landlord may still be required to serve by New Jersey Process Service a written notice to vacate to the tenant.
If the landlord desires to terminate a month-to-month lease, they must provide the tenant with written notice of one month. This notice must say that the tenant’s tenancy will expire at the end of the month and that they must vacate the rental unit by that date. If the tenant has not vacated the rental unit by the end of the month, the landlord may bring an eviction case against the renter on the grounds that the tenant is a stay tenant.
At least one month of notice and an exact date must be given by landlords in New Jersey before a tenancy may be terminated. With shorter (or no) notice in certain cases, one may be allowed to leave if the landlord breaches the terms of the rental agreement or fails to meet legal obligations that impact their health and safety, for example. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease or rental agreement, such as one year or six months, the landlord is not required to provide any kind of notice to vacate, unless the contract expressly requires such. The owner might anticipate the renter vacating the premises before the lease term expires.
WHAT HAPPENS IF AN EVICTION IS CONTESTED
Even if a landlord believes an eviction is appropriate, a tenant may choose to contest the eviction. This might result in a delay in the eviction process and an increase in the expense of the litigation. The renter may have various legitimate defenses to the eviction, including that the landlord did not follow legal eviction processes or that the landlord discriminated against the tenant.
A landlord may only evict a tenant from a rental property if the landlord prevails in an eviction case. Even if the landlord wins in the litigation, the landlord will not be the one to evict the tenant. A law enforcement officer is responsible for this. It is unlawful for a landlord to evict a tenant from a rental unit, and the renter may sue the landlord who makes such an attempt.
The landlord may find that the tenant has left the personal property at the rental unit after the tenant has moved out. Before disposing of the property, the landlord must first notify the tenant of the property. To do this, the landlord must send the tenant notice through the mail (either certified mail or receipted first-class) informing the tenant that the tenant has thirty-three days to claim the property or the landlord will dispose of it. If the tenant does not claim the property during the appropriate time frame, then the landlord can either sell the property or dispose of it. The landlord can also charge the tenant for the storage costs of the property during this time.
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 2A:18-53. Removal of the tenant in certain cases; jurisdiction Except for residential lessees and tenants included in section 2 of this act, any lessee or tenant at will or at sufferance, or for a part of a year, or for one or more years, of many houses, buildings, lands or tenements, and the assigns, under-tenants or legal representatives of such tenant or lessee, may be removed from such premises by the Superior Court, Law Division, Special Civil Part
 All parties and the court must be informed of the department’s view on whether or not it is possible to comply with the law without removing the tenant, or is a governmental agency that wants to permanently retire the tenant; has been cited by local or State housing inspectors or zoning officers and it is impossible to correct such illegal occupancy without removing the tenant; To evict a tenant for any cause, a warrant for possession cannot be granted.
 However, no action shall be brought against a tenant under this subsection unless the tenant has been provided with a statement. An owner of three or fewer condominium or cooperative units seeks to evict a tenant whose initial tenancy began through rental from another owner of three or fewer units after the master deed or agreement establishing the cooperative was recorded. The landlord or owner granted the tenant’s tenancy in exchange for and in consideration of the tenant’s employment by the landlord or owner as superintendent, janitor, or in some other capacity, and such employment has been terminated.
 The following notice shall be required:
a. For an action alleging disorderly conduct under subsection b. of section 2, or injury to the premises under subsection c. of section 2, or any grounds under subsection m., n., o. or p. of section 2, three days notice prior to the institution of the action for possession;
b. For an action alleging continued violation of rules and regulations under subsection d. of section 2, or substantial breach of covenant under subsection e. of section 2, or habitual failure to pay rent, one month’s notice prior to the institution of the action for possession;
c. For an action alleging any grounds under subsection g. of section 2, three months’ notice prior to the institution of the action;
d. For an action alleging permanent retirement under subsection h. of section 2, 18 months’ notice prior to the institution of the action and, provided that, where there is a lease in effect, no action may be instituted until the lease expires;
e. For an action alleging refusal of acceptance of reasonable lease changes under subsection i. of section 2, one month’s notice prior to the institution of action; f. For an action alleging any grounds under subsection l. of section 2, two months’ notice prior to the institution of the action and, provided that where there is a written lease in effect no action shall be instituted until the lease expires;
g. For an action alleging any grounds under subsection k. of section 2, three years’ notice prior to the institution of the action, and provided that where there is a written lease in effect, no action shall be instituted until the lease expires;
h. In public housing under the control of a public housing authority or redevelopment agency, for an action alleging substantial breach of contract under paragraph (2) of subsection e. of section 2, the period of notice required prior to the institution of an action for possession shall be in accordance with federal regulations pertaining to public housing leases.
The notice in each of the foregoing instances shall specify in detail the cause of the termination of the tenancy and shall be served either personally upon the tenant or lessee or such person in possession by giving him a copy thereof, or by leaving a copy thereof at his usual place of abode with some member of his family above the age of 14 years, or by certified mail; if the certified letter is not claimed, notice shall be sent by regular mail.