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New Jersey Residential
Lease Agreement for
Rental Properties

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Overview

Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.

In New Jersey, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by New Jersey landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.

This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a residential lease agreement New Jersey considers complaint, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free NJ lease agreement template for download!

A New Jersey lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease must adhere to New Jersey’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.

The following components should be included in every New Jersey lease agreement. Note that these components primarily apply to residential leases; New Jersey commercial lease agreements will necessarily have different requirements.

Lease Term

This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.

Rent

Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. New Jersey does not have any state-wide rent control laws, but rent control is permitted in the state, and several municipalities have active rent control laws. Be sure you’re aware of which laws apply in your city and county and that the rent rate you decide on is compliant.

Additionally, keep in mind that all New Jersey landlords are prohibited from raising rent in the middle of the lease term.

Late Fees

The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In New Jersey, there are no statutory limits on late fees or mandatory grace periods. (Exception: Senior citizens and other recipients of certain social security benefits in New Jersey must be given a five-day grace period for rent) (NJSA § 2A:42-6.1).

This means New Jersey landlords can charge whatever reasonable fee they deem fit for late rent, as long as its amount and procedures for implementation are clearly described in the lease so that tenants know exactly what will happen if they are late to pay rent.

Security Deposit

This section of New Jersey rental agreements includes details about the security deposit, its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.

New Jersey has many laws governing security deposits. The maximum or limit for security deposits in New Jersey is 1.5 months’ rent. If the landlord collects any additional funds for security, they should not be greater than 10% of the current deposit amount (NJSA § 46:8-21.2).

Additionally, security deposits in New Jersey must be kept separate from other funds and deposited in either a money market fund or interest-bearing account in a state or federally chartered bank, savings bank, or savings and loan association. If the deposit accrues interest, New Jersey landlords must pay that interest to the tenant in cash or credit it toward rent.

Lastly, when the tenancy ends, security deposits must be returned to tenants (minus any deductions) within 30 days (NJSA § 46:8-21.1(3)).

Your security deposit policy—including the amount, location where it is stored, and how/when it will be returned—should be clearly described in every New Jersey rental agreement.

Required Disclosures

This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. These required disclosures must be included in every residential lease agreement New Jersey considers compliant or provided as a separate written notice to the tenant.

In New Jersey, the required disclosures are:

  • Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
  • Security deposit receipt – Landlords in New Jersey must disclose to tenants the name and address of the bank or other institution where the security deposit is being held within 30 days of making the deposit. The current interest rate should also be disclosed.
  • Truth in Renting Act –New Jersey landlords must distribute a copy of the Truth in Renting Statement to each tenant at move-in.
  • Flood zone – If the rental property is in a flood zone, New Jersey landlords must notify tenants of this prior to move-in.
  • Window guards – New Jersey landlords who own properties with multiple dwelling units must include a window guard disclosure in all lease agreements.

Landlord Right to Entry

In New Jersey, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. In general, landlords tend to provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering an occupied unit for any non-emergency reason. Be sure the landlord’s right of entry is included in the lease agreement, in addition to possible reasons for entry (e.g., showings, inspections, etc.).

Repairs & Maintenance

The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every New Jersey lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.

Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures

This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.

A New Jersey residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in New Jersey, landlords must send notices of specified lengths: An immediate notice to quit for nonpayment, a one-month notice to quit for lease violations, or a three-day notice to quit for disorderly conduct or illegal activity. In New Jersey, landlords are required to send Notices to Cease first, which inform the tenant that they must fix the violation within a reasonable amount of time.

All eviction notice periods in New Jersey should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.

Community Rules

Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a New Jersey sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.

Joint and Severability Clause

This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.

Signatures

Both the landlord and tenant will sign the New Jersey rental agreement either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.

New Jersey Rental Agreement Download

To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable New Jersey lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of New Jersey state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.

Conclusion

Understanding the nuances of a New Jersey residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a New Jersey lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free NJ lease agreement template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.