State Landlord-Tenant Laws For New Jersey



  • Not required but highly recommended.
  • Cannot exceed one and a half months rent.
  • In general it must be returned within 30 days of end date of the lease.


  • No rent control for the state of New Jersey. But the city of Newark does have its own rent control laws.


  • Reasonable notice must be given before entering the property.
  • The above rule is waived in the case of emergencies.


  • None


  • Required for tenancies longer than 12 months.
  • Highly recommended to have a rental agreement for all tenancies.


  • Must be a reasonable estimate of costs incurred by late payment.
  • Late fees must be clearly stipulated in writing in the rental agreement.
  • Required Grace period in certain circumstances.


  • If the landlord limits or prohibits smoking, landlord must include a clause that specifies the areas on or in the premise where smoking is prohibited.


  • None


1. New Jersey Laws on deposits

Is a Security Deposit Required Under New Jersey Law?

No, landlord’s are not required to collect a deposit by law from their tenants. However, it is highly advisable for landlords to collect a deposit from all tenants in case of damage to the property or unpaid rent. If the landlord does collect a deposit there are several legal requirements that they need to ensure they abide by.

  • Maximum Security Deposit Amount: One and a half months rent. This law does not apply to owner-occupied premises with less than two rental units. (§§ 46:8-21.2).
  • Commingling of Security Deposit: Landlords are not allowed to commingle the tenant’s security deposit with any of the landlord’s personal assets.

Returning the Deposit Under New Jersey Law?

Landlords have 30 days from the end date of the lease in New Jersey to return the deposit along with any interest accrued or accumulated over the tenancy period.

Whilst 30 days is the general rule there are two particular scenarios where the deadline may be sooner:

  • If a tenant is displaced by fire, flood, condemnation or evacuation, then the landlord must return the security deposit within 5 days of the tenant being displaced. (§§ 46:8-21.1)
  • If a tenant has ended the lease due to them being the victim of domestic violence then the landlord must return the security deposit within 15 days.

Landlords are required to pay interest to the tenant on their deposits. This is because interest on deposits or pre-paid rent remains the property of the tenant. The landlord then, is required to pay the tenant in cash, or have the interest go towards their rent as credit.This should be done on the renewal or anniversary of tenant’s lease or, if notified in writing before the anniversary, on January 31. (§§ 46:8-19)

When Can a Landlord Withhold a Deposit in New Jersey?

Whilst, as mentioned above the landlord, is required to return the deposit to the tenant within 30 days under New Jersey law, they can withhold all or a portion of the tenant’s security deposit for any of the following reasons:

  • The property has suffered damage beyond what is reasonably deemed “wear and tear”.
  • The tenant has breached any part of the lease (for example, the lease states no pets allowed yet the tenant got a pet anyway. In this scenario, one outcome is for the landlord to deduct from the deposit a reasonable amount to reimburse them for the additional wear and tear that comes with having pets in a property).
  • Unpaid utility bills.
  • Unpaid rent.

Laws When Withholding any or all of Tenant’s deposit in New Jersey

If a landlord does decide to withhold any of the deposit an itemized receipt of any deductions need to be presented to the tenant by personal delivery, registered or certified mail (§§ 46:8-21.1)

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in New Jersey

When handling deposits landlords are required to adhere to certain regulations.

First, after receiving the deposit from the tenant they must lodge it in the correct place. Landlords with 10 or more units must invest deposit funds in shares of a qualified money market account. Landlords with fewer than 10 rental units shall deposit money in an interest-bearing account at prevailing rates and insured by the federal government.

The landlord must then inform the tenant – within 30 days of receiving the deposit from them of the name and address of the financial institution where the funds have been deposited, as well as, the current interest rate and the amount of the deposit. If the landlord chooses to change the location of the security deposit then they have to give this notice again to the tenant within 30 days of moving it.

All deposit money may be deposited or invested in one interest-bearing or dividend-yielding account as long as all other statutory requirements are followed. (§§ 46:8-19)

Failure to Comply

If the landlord fails to follow the regulations found in §§ 46:8-21.1, the tenant could be awarded double the amount of said monies plus reasonable attorney’s fees.


2. New Jersey Rental Agreement Laws

Are Rental Agreements Required in New Jersey?

Rental agreements are only required by law for tenancies that are for 12 months or longer. That being said it is recommended that landlords create a written rental agreement for shorter tenancies as well, oral agreements – whilst legal – can be very hard to enforce.

What General Lease Provisions are Required in a New Jersey Lease?

Certain provisions must be included in the lease agreement. Most importantly are the names of both the tenant(s) and the landlord.

The landlord should also detail the following in the rental agreement:

  • Conditions of occupancy
  • A detailed and clear description of the rental
  • Whether or not the agreement will automatically renew
  • Insurance on tenant’s belongings and crime insurance
  • If there are kerosene heaters
  • Late fees and grace periods.

You may want to include these additional provisions, but they are not required:

  • Who is liable for utility expenses
  • The rent amount
  • Rent payment frequency and due date
  • Landlord’s responsibilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities
  • Provisions regarding maintenance eg. painting, gardening
  • Whether pets are allowed
  • Whether/where smoking is allowed
  • Security deposit details
  • Cleaning fees
  • Abandoned property

Lease, Rent & Fees

  • Rent Grace Period: 5 “business days” (any day other than a Saturday, Sunday or State or federal holiday) only if dwelling is rented to senior citizens receiving Social Security or other old age pensions and by recipients of Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income or benefits under Work First New Jersey. (§§ 2A:42-6.1 and §§ 2A:42-6.3)
  • Late Fees: Any fees that the landlord intends to charge should be clearly stated. A lease may permit a “late charge” when the rent is not paid by a certain date. (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 2))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: After 35 days after demand for remedy of bounced payment, payee can charge $100 or triple face amount, whichever is greater, but never more than $500, including legal fees and court costs. (§§ 2A:32A-1)

Are there any Specific Required Lease Renewal Provisions in New Jersey?

There are specified lease renewal provisions in New Jersey. If the landlord wishes for the rental agreement to automatically renew the language in the lease must contain the following:

“If Tenant wishes to terminate this Lease at the end of its original term, [he or she] must give Landlord written notice at least [specify, e.g., if term is monthly: 30; if term is yearly: 90] days before the end of the term. This notice must be in writing and must be sent by certified mail or personally delivered to Landlord at the address at the top of this Lease. AN ORAL NOTICE IS NOT SUFFICIENT. If written notice of Tenant’s intention to terminate this Lease is not given to Landlord within the time noted above, the Lease shall AUTOMATICALLY RENEW as a month-to-month tenancy on the same terms and conditions as contained in this Lease.”

Tenants Right to Withhold Rent

If a landlord fails to maintain the property at an adequate standard of habitability, a tenant may withhold all or part of the rent. If the landlord tries to evict for nonpayment of rent, tenant is entitled to use the landlord’s failure to provide a habitable residence as a defense. (§§ 2A:42-88)

Repair and Deduct Remedy in New Jersey State

Case law, specifically Marini v. Ireland, 56 N.J. 130, authorized the self-help remedy of repair and deduct. A tenant may repair deficiencies in “vital facilities” and deduct the amount of the repair from the rent. Examples of defects in “vital facilities” would include broken toilets, no hot or cold water, lack of heat or electricity, or broken windows.

To use this remedy, the tenant cannot have caused the deficiency themselves, ie. smashed a window. They must also have provided adequate notice and given the landlord adequate time to remedy the situation. The notice they give needs to be in writing and delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested. (New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin (Page 2))

A final thing to note is that under New Jersey state law, tenants living in the rental unit must be at least 18 years old.


3. New Jersey Rent Control

Rent Control in New Jersey

The actual state of New Jersey does not have any laws addressing rent control or rent regulation. However, the city of Newark in New Jersey does.

Newark City Rent Control Law

Landlord-Tenant Law in Newark is essentially the same as New Jersey state law. However, Newark is subject to rent control laws.

In Newark, the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent by a percentage that is greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI). And the allowable rent increase should never exceed 4% in any consecutive 12 month period.

The CPI is a standardized measure that is calculated by taking price changes for a certain group of items and averaging them. Within this context, changes in the CPI assess price changes associated with the cost of living. Based on the changes associated with the cost of living, the city of Newark determines a percentage that landlords must honor if they want to increase the rent. Landlords can find the current CPI percentage on this website under Rent of Primary Residence.


4. New Jersey Notices, Entry, and Evictions

Notices and Entry

Notice to Terminate Tenancy

  • For a fixed date lease there is typically no notice needed to terminate the lease – it simply expires.
  • For a yearly lease with no specified end date the landlord needs to give 3 months notice to terminate the tenancy.
  • For a month to month lease 1 month notice is required to terminate the tenancy.
  • For a week to week lease a full week (7 days) notice is needed to terminate the tenancy.
  • If the tenant violates the lease, the landlord must first give the tenant a written Notice to Cease that describes the violation. If the tenant continues to violate the lease 30 days notice is required to terminate the lease, in the form of a Notice to Quit.
  • If a tenant is caught in disorderly conduct or if the tenant is deemed to have caused significant damages to the premises then the landlord is required to give the tenant a written Notice to Cease. If the behaviour continues 3 days notice, in the form of a Notice to Quit, is required before engaging in eviction proceedings.
  • The landlord is not required to give the tenant any notice before proceeding with an eviction lawsuit if the tenant is late with their rent. As soon as the rent is late, the landlord can start the process of evicting the tenant. If the tenant continually pays rent late, the landlord is required to give the tenant a written warning, called a “Notice to Cease.” If the tenant still continues to pay rent late, then the landlord must give the tenant one month’s notice called a “Notice to Quit” before filing the eviction lawsuit.

Source: (§§ 2A:18-56)

Holdover Tenant “Double Rent”

If a tenant does not move out of the property after the end of the lease or after the period stipulated in a notice to quit, the penalty will be double the normal rent for as many months as the tenant remains in possession of the property (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-5 and 2A:42-6).

Required Notice before Entry

  • Reasonable notice is required before the landlord enters the property. In general 1 day is seen as reasonable notice.
  • When it comes to notifying the tenant for entry for showings the landlord must, once again give reasonable notice. However, there is no law that actually stipulates that the tenant must allow access for purposes other than inspection, maintenance and repair. The issue of entry for cases such as showings, should thus be outlined in the signed lease agreement.
  • In the case of emergencies the above notice requirements are waived and the landlord can gain immediate access to the property. A situation is deemed an emergency when a condition exists that poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of the person inhabiting the premises. For example, a gas leak or plumbing emergency.

What are the New Jersey laws on eviction?

New Jersey Eviction Law is governed by the New Jersey Eviction Act.

The New Jersey Eviction Act applies to all residential rental properties, including mobile homes, and land in a mobile home park, except owner-occupied two or three-family dwellings, hotels, motels, other dwellings housing transient or seasonal tenants, and permanently occupied units held in trust on behalf of a developmentally disabled immediate family member.

In New Jersey, the landlord may evict the tenant for any of the following reasons:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Disorderly conduct, and/or disturbing the peace and quiet of other tenants
  • Property damage and destruction
  • Health and safety violations
  • Violation of the lease, regulations or landlord’s rules
  • Failure to pay increased rent
  • Failure to pay rent habitually paying it late
  • Landlord intention to cancel any residential use of the property
  • Conversion to co-op or cooperative or tenancy after the conversion has happened
  • Tenant refusal to accept changes in the terms and conditions of the lease
  • Tenancy contingent on employment with the landlord that has now terminated
  • Illegal activity including a drug conviction or offense on the property, or a conviction related to threatening/assaulting the landlord, their employees, or their family
  • Court action finding the tenant liable for criminal activity involvement
  • Convictions for theft of property

Each cause for eviction, except non-payment, must be outlined in a written notice to the tenant.

First, the landlord must provide the tenant with an eviction notice. The landlord must give the tenant written notice of the reason for the eviction and the date that the landlord wants the tenant to vacate the premises.

Any tenant facing eviction may assert any one of the following defenses:

  • Self-help: It is illegal for a landlord to force a tenant out of the rental unit, including changing the locks on the rental unit or turning off the utilities.
  • Eviction was improper: A landlord must carefully follow all the procedures set out in the New Jersey state laws when evicting a tenant.
  • The tenant paid rent in full.
  • The landlord failed to make a utility payment.
  • The landlord failed to make necessary repairs.
  • Landlord evicts tenant for violating rental agreement but the tenant hasn’t violated any provision of the rental agreement.
  • The eviction is in retaliation for the tenant having filed a complaint regarding the condition of the property.
  • The eviction is based on the tenant’s religion, race, sex, national origin, creed, age, marital or family status, or disability.

New Jersey Laws on Retaliation

Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their rights. In New Jersey, a landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, made a good faith complaint, or exercised a legal right.

Read here for more on New Jersey retaliation law.


Are Lockouts Allowed?

No. If the landlord continues in “disorderly conduct”, the landlord may be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

Are Landlords Allowed to Shut of a Tenants Utilities?

No, this is a form of “self-help” eviction.

Read: Truth in Renting Guide


5. New Jersey Landlord / Tenant Duties and Rights

There are basic structural, health, and safety standards that every rental must meet to be a rental property. Residential leases carry with them an implied warranty of habitability. This means the landlord has a duty to maintain the rental unit to a particular standard to keep it fit for residential purpose.

In New Jersey, under this warranty the tenant’s obligation to keep pay the rent is dependent on the landlord keeping the property in a habitable state. This means that the tenant is relieved of their responsibility to pay rent if the landlord fails to maintain the property to the base health and safety standards – at least until such a time as the landlord makes those necessary repairs.

Air Conditioning

The Superior Court Appellate Division has held that air conditioning that is part of the original tenancy may be considered a “vital facility,” and air conditioning failure affects the habitability of the premises.

The landlord must be given notice of defects and a reasonable opportunity to make repairs, but he or she does not have to promise to repair before the tenant withholds rent.

What can a tenant do if the Rental isn’t “habitable”?

The tenant has several options if the believe the premises aren’t habitable:

1. Repair and Deduct

This is when a tenant repairs vital deficiencies themselves and deducts the expense of the repair from their rent owed to the landlord. For more information on the repair and deduct remedy reference section 2 on rental agreements of this page.

2. Quit the Premises

If the property is deemed uninhabitable then the tenant can break the lease with no consequence because the landlord is guilty of neglect.

3. Rent Reduction

If the court finds the landlord in breach of warranty of habitability the tenant will be charged only with the reasonable rental value of the property in its imperfect condition.

4. Withhold Rent

The tenant may withhold a portion of rent.

5. Rent Receivership

Tenants in poor standards of property may be able to deposit their rent with a third party court-appointed administrator for use in the remedying of the defective conditions of the property.

New Jersey Laws on Retaliation

Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their rights. In New Jersey, a landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, made a good faith complaint, or exercised a legal right.

Read here for more on New Jersey retaliation law.

Common Landlord’s Duties:

  • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
  • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
  • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied;

Common Tenant’s Duties: (No statute)

  • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
  • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
  • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
  • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
  • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
  • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
  • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

Read New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin


6. New Jersey Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

Required Disclosures

  • The landlord must disclose all known lead paint hazards. They must also provide tenants, as an attachment to the lease, with an informational pamphlet on lead-based paints. You can find more information here:
  • If the rental is in a location that has been determined to be a flood zone then the landlord must necessarily notify each tenant.
  • At the beginning of each tenancy, the landlord is required to give each tenant a copy of the Statement of Legal Rights prepared by the Department of Community Affairs, that lays out the primary, clearly established legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and also post it in one or more locations so it is prominent and accessible to all tenants. (§§ 46:8-45)
  • At the time of the creation of the very first tenancy in the property, the landlord must file with the clerk of the municipality a certificate of registration that contains the name and address of the owner(s). If the property is held in a corporation then it should list the names of the corporate officers and the managing agent and the individual employed for routine maintenance. This certificate should then be made reasonably accessible to the public. The tenants upon the creation of each new tenancy must then be supplied with a copy of this certificate. (§§ 46:8-28)
  • Between the months of October and May, the heating of the premises must be capable of maintaining a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 11:00 P.M.

New Jersey Laws on Snow Removal

During the winter months, the landlord has duties to remove snow for the safety of the tenants. The exact duties of the landlord in this scenario depends on the dwelling type and the number of occupants.

When a landlord or tenant that has no duty to clear a sidewalk or path of snow or ice but decides to do so voluntarily becomes liable if “through their negligence, a new element of danger or hazard, other than one caused by natural forces, is added to the safe use of the sidewalk by a pedestrian.”

Single Family Homes

Single-family homeowners have no duty to clear snow or ice from their property. However, if they do decide to do so, they can become liable if it is deemed they made conditions more dangerous than what occurs naturally.

Multifamily Property Owners

Muli family property owner must clear snow and ice from public walkways and sidewalks in front of their property to make it safe for the tenants occupying their property.

Commercial Property

Commercial property owners also have a duty to inspect and remove any accumulations of snow on the property to make the property safe for tenants.

New Jersey Laws on Domestic Violence, Sexual Misconduct, and Sexual Assault

In New Jersey, there are special protections afforded by law to victims of domestic violence, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault.

The landlord cannot discriminate when it comes to selecting a new tenant because they have been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. If a tenant is a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence then the landlord cannot refuse to rent to, refuse to renew a lease, or retaliate against the tenant.

On top of this, a tenant that is the victim of domestic violence has the option to terminate the lease if they give the landlord written notice stating that they or their child is at threat of serious physical harm.

The lease terminates 30 days after the tenant has provided the notice (unless an earlier date is stipulated in the lease).

In this scenario, the landlord is entitled to check the claims of the tenant’s domestic violence status. The landlord may require one of the following:

  • A certified copy of a permanent restraining order
  • A law enforcement agency record documenting a case of the domestic violence
  • Medical documentation of the domestic violence provided by a healthcare professional.

Other acceptable forms of proof may be found here.

New Jersey Laws on Changing the Locks and Security Devices

Landlords are not required to change the locks before a new tenant moves in, however, it is advisable to do so to ensure the security of your tenants. This can be an easy and inexpensive process with the correct locks installed.

Landlords are also required to install the following:

  • Window latch
  • Window guards
  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors

Should a tenant request for the landlord to install one of the above-listed devices, the landlord must respond within a reasonable amount of time.

Window Guards and Screens

In the state of New Jersey Landlords must install screens to protect the interior of the building from insects. These screens should be well maintained and cover all exterior doors and windows that provide ventilation.

Screens are not though required on external windows or doors 6 floors up or above.

New Jersey Pet Laws

In New Jersey, Landlords are allowed to set their own pet laws. They can decide whether pets are allowed or not, and what sizes, etc are acceptable.

However, under the federal Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) service dogs must be allowed, and discriminating against tenants because of service animals is against the law.

The Pets in Housing Projects law

The Pet in Housing Project Law states that senior citizens residing in certain accommodations are allowed to own and care for a pet. The law defines the accommodation of the “senior citizen housing project” as any building or structure that has three or more rental units, or any health care facilities.

Whilst the tenant has the right to own and care for a pet the landlord also has rights and if any of the following occur the landlord is within their rights to terminate the lease:

  • The tenant takes insufficient care of their pet.
  • The pet’s existence or behavior violates federal or state law.
  • The tenant fails to adequately clean up after the animals waste in common areas.

Read more about the Pets in Housing Project Law.

Pet Fees

The landlord may charge a reasonable, nonrefundable fee for pets kept by the tenant on the premises.


7. New Jersey Landlord and Tenant Law Resources

Below you’ll find helpful New Jersey landlord-tenant law resources:

This article is designed to convey information, and not to provide legal advice. You should not consider any information in this article to be legal advice. Readers should consider obtaining specific legal advice from an attorney for any decision or course of action contemplated.