An Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws

The laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship are a little different in every state. For example, in Colorado, a landlord has one month to return a security deposit, but may give a different specified amount of time on the lease. In New Jersey, however, they must return it within 30 days with very little exception, sooner if the tenant had to evacuate due to a disaster. It’s important to know the specific laws of your state to protect yourself and to keep your tenants informed. Here are some of the guidelines.

New Jersey evictions

If a landlord wishes to terminate a lease and/or have a tenant evicted in New Jersey, he or she must go through a very specific process. In some cases, such as if a tenant threatens the safety of the landlord or other renters, you have the right to terminate their lease and evict them immediately through the courts. This is also the case if they fail to pay their rent. In other cases, such as if a tenant is using or storing illegal drugs, you may have to give them three days’ notice to quit the activity before you file for eviction. Otherwise, if you just wish to end the lease at the agreed-upon time, you can just choose not to renew it.

New Jersey property entry

Another rule that states sometimes differ slightly on is when the landlord has the right to enter the property a tenant is living in. In New Jersey, a landlord must provide at least one day notice before entering the property for inspection and repairs unless it’s for an emergency, but there are also a few other exceptions. For example, if a tenant gives you permission to enter the premises in a pre-established agreement, you may enter at the agreed-upon times. This would also be the case if you have reason to believe the tenant has abandoned the rental property. In these instances, it is always a good idea to ask a law enforcement professional to accompany you so that there is no room for accusal. Also, be sure to protect yourself with apartment building insurance in New Jersey in case of situations where you might be wrongfully sued or misrepresented.

Local ordinances

Aside from state laws, you will need to check with your city and county to see if there are ordinances specific to your area. Some cities, for example, have rent control rules or safety standards in place that you must abide by. Other agencies you will have to comply with might be HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and any federal regulations that cover all 50 states.

New Jersey tenant protection

Simply wanting a tenant gone is not an argument that will stand up in court if you decide to start eviction proceedings. In fact, there are federal and state laws that protect renters in these types of situations, so it is best to make sure you have proper reason and evidence before you file. One such circumstance the courts protect tenants against is retaliation. In other words, the law prohibits evicting a tenant because he or she asserted his rights, such as complaining about unsafe living conditions or asking for necessary repairs. Be aware of the fact that once a tenant complains to a government agency, it may be very difficult to terminate a lease. Also, realize that a tenant has the right to fight an eviction and it’s possible you won’t win.

Protect yourself and your property

As a landlord, it’s important to do everything you can to protect yourself from frivolous lawsuits and your property from preventable damage. One of the easiest ways to do this is to screen your tenants using a tenant screening report free of charge. The more information you can gather on your tenants before you let them move in, the more likely you are to rent to people with integrity and the ability to pay their rent.

Leave a Reply