New Jersey Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in New Jersey

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.

What circumstances qualify a legal cause for an eviction?

In New Jersey, a tenant may be evicted for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Continued disorderly conduct
  • Willful destruction or damage to the property
  • Habitual lateness in paying rent
  • Violation of rules and regulations after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document
  • Conviction for a drug offense.

How does the eviction process work?

If the action is for failing to pay rent or a substantial lease violation, the landlord must give the tenant at least 3 days notice to leave the property or face eviction.  For other reasons, the notice period varies: for year to year leases, the tenant must be given 3 months advance notice, and in all other term lengths the notice period must equal the lease term.

If the tenant does not leave during the notice period, the landlord can file a complaint with the court, asking for an eviction and stating his reasons.  The court will then set a hearing date, at which both sides must appear and present evidence to prove or disprove the assertions made in the landlord's complaint.  If the landlord wins, the tenant will be ordered to move.

In the rare case that the tenant obstinately refuses to move, the court will give the landlord a "writ of possession".  This will authorize the local sheriff, at the request of the landlord, to forcibly remove the tenant.  The tenant may appeal the judgment of the court, and if granted, this will temporarily prevent his eviction from occurring until the higher court has dealt with the case.


If the cause for eviction can be resolved by making repairs or paying damages is the landlord required to give the tenant a certain period of time to fix the problem?

If the landlord seeks to evict because of a breach of the lease term, he must generally give the tenant 20 days notice to fix the problem before starting the eviction.  Also, if the tenant is able to remedy the problem at any point before the court makes a judgment, it may prevent his eviction.  After a judgment in his favor though, a landlord will not be required to accept the tenant's restitution, but can go through with the eviction.  

Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?

Yes, if it violates the lease.

What happens after a tenant contests and wins and eviction case in court?

A tenant who wins an eviction case can remain on the premises until the lease normally ends.

Can a tenant be evicted if the landlord wants to use the unit himself?

A landlord must have more substantial reasons than his whim in order to successfully evict a tenant.  If he wants to use the unit himself, he must wait until his tenant's lease normally terminates in order to do so.

Is it legal for a landlord to demand unpaid rent for the remainder of the lease term?

Yes, but he may only do this through the court, not on his own.


New Jersey Landlord/Tenant Court frequently asked questions

Are You Looking for Property Management?   Get a Free Quote!