Under New Jersey law, there are many rules and restrictions that govern leasing agreements. Whether you're a prospective lessee who is concerned about signing a lease or a landlord who is seeking to comply with New Jersey law, an experienced New Jersey real estate attorney can provide counsel tailored to your situation. At the Grimes Law Firm, we assist clients with real estate matters related to leases, purchase and sale agreements, and many other issues, and we may be able to help you.Leasing Agreements
There are certain disclosures that must be made under New Jersey landlord-tenant law. Landlords are required to disclose at the start of the tenancy, and usually in writing, whether specific types of rentals are in a flood zone or area, the tenants' rights to ask for windowguards where a child or children that are 10-years-old or younger are living, and a statement of legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords of rental dwelling units.
In most leasing agreements, a tenant is required to pay the first month's rent before moving in, as well as a security deposit. Under New Jersey state law, landlords are restricted in how much they may charge for a security deposit. A lawyer with experience advising landlords and other business owners can assist you in complying with requirements of this nature.Security Deposits
The security deposit is money belonging to a tenant but held by a landlord in trust as protection against a tenant's failure to follow responsibilities set forth in the lease, including for failure to abide by the lease's obligations such as paying rent or damaging the property beyond ordinary wear and tear. Landlords can charge only 1 1/2 month's rent for the first year and no more than 10% of the security deposit for every additional yearly deposit. The law specifies this deposit should be returned within 30 days after a tenant moves or within 5 days if there is a flood, fire, condemnation, or evacuation. The security deposit law applies to almost all rental units including single-family homes occupied by tenants. There is an exception for rental units in owner-occupied buildings that don't have more than 2 units besides a landlord's unit. It is possible for a tenant to sue a landlord in small claims court for the return of the deposit, as well as up to $5000.
However, if a tenant's rental is sold, the new owner is supposed to get the tenants' security deposits as well as interest from an old owner. The law requires the new owner to be responsible to each tenant for the total amount of the tenant's deposit and interest, whether or not the new owner received deposits from the old owner.New Jersey Law Governing Payment of Rent
New Jersey law regulates rent, including the amount of notice that landlords should give tenants to increase the rent and within how much time a tenant must pay overdue rent or move prior to being evicted by a landlord. New Jersey tenants are entitled to rent property that is reasonably safe, healthy, structurally sound, and in good repair. When a landlord doesn't maintain the property in important ways such as by repairing a broken heater, a tenant may have the right to withhold rent until repairs are made, as well as the right to repair and deduct, which means the tenant can potentially hire someone to repair the defect and deduct the cost from her rent.
However, before a tenant uses a repair-and-deduct remedy, she needs to ensure the there is truly a basis to pay less rent. It's also critical to comply with New Jersey legal requirements as to providing the required notice. It is crucial for a tenant to make sure that the kind of problem at issue qualifies for withholding rent or repairing and deducting. Additionally, a tenant should be aware of the law concerning the types of notice a tenant must provide a landlord, and how much time a landlord should be given to be allowed to make repairs before it's proper to utilize the rent or repair and deduct to address the issue.Real Estate Attorney Serving New Jersey
If you have questions about leasing agreements in New Jersey, an experienced real estate lawyer can explain your rights and options, and help you protect your interests. At the Grimes Law Firm, we represent clients in Somerset County and Neshanic Station, and all throughout the tri-state area in matters related to business law, securities litigation, and many other case types. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.