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Housing
The Tenant's Right to Court Process

ONLY A COURT CAN EVICT A TENANT 

IN NEW JERSEY, THE only way that a landlord can evict or remove a tenant is if a Superior Court judge orders the eviction. An order for eviction can come only after the landlord has sued the tenant for eviction in the Superior Court and won. This means that you do not have to move out simply because the landlord tells you to or threatens to remove you if you don't leave.

Illegal Lockouts 

A lockout or eviction is unlawful if a special court officer ​with a legal court order does not do it. Neither landlords nor their employees can legally evict tenants by themselves. (These kinds of evictions are sometimes called self-help evictions.) "Self-help" evictions by landlords are illegal. If you are locked out or evicted by your landlord and not by a special court officer, or if your landlord shuts off your utilities or does other things to try to make you leave, you should call the police immediately. (You should also call a private attorney or contact your regional Legal Services office.) The law says that the police must make sure you get back into your apartment. Police officers cannot evict tenants.

Only a special court officer with a warrant for removal issued by a judge can actually evict a tenant. Landlords who try to evict tenants by themselves are doing something illegal, even if they have gone to court and sued the tenant for eviction. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A: 39-1 and 2; N.J.S.A. 2A:18-57; N.J.S.A 2A:42-10.16; and related statutes. Some landlords still evict tenants illegally, or scare tenants into leaving by threatening to throw them out. 

New Jersey Statute 2C:33-11.1 “Disorderly persons offense; forcible entry and detainer” states that:​

  • The police or any other public official who finds out about an illegal "self-help" eviction must warn the landlord or his workers to stop;
  • If the police arrive after the landlord has already locked the tenant out, the police must tell the landlord to let the tenant go back in;
  • If the landlord tries to keep the tenants from going back in, the landlord can be charged with a disorderly persons offense;
  • An illegal eviction may include: (1) The landlord uses violence or threats of violence to get the tenants out; or (2) the landlord says or does other things to try to scare the tenants into leaving; or (3) the landlord takes the tenant's property and puts it outside; or (4) the tenant lets the landlord in peacefully, and then the landlord forces the tenant out; or (5) the landlord padlocks the door or changes the locks; or (6) the landlord shuts off the electricity or gas, or has them shut off, in order to make the tenant leave; or (7) the landlord tries anything else to get the tenant out.
  • The law says that the Attorney General of New Jersey must make sure that all state and local police officers, prosecutors, and public officials know about the law. Each police officer must be given a form that describes the law and the police officer’s responsibility for enforcing it. Police officers must also be given special training to make sure they know what they have to do to stop illegal evictions.
​The only way the landlord can evict the tenant is if a special court officer, with a legal court order called a warrant for removal, does the eviction. And even before the special court officer can do the eviction, he must give a copy of the warrant for removal to the tenant (or leave a copy on the tenant's door) at least three days before coming out to do the actual eviction. The law says that the warrant for removal must tell the tenant many things, including that self-help evictions by landlords are now disorderly persons offenses. The warrant must also let the tenants know the earliest day on which the special court officer can come back to do the eviction.

The law says that if a special court officer does do a legal eviction, he or she must fill out a new form called an "execution of warrant for possession." The new form must say when the legal eviction took place, and give the name, signature, and position of the special court officer who did the eviction. The special court officer is required to immediately give a copy of this new form to both the landlord and tenant (or a member of the tenant's family), and also to post it on the door of the dwelling unit.

Holding property for rent

It is also against the law for a landlord to hold or take your clothing or furniture to force you to pay rent. This is called a distraint and it is illegal, even if you owe rent to the landlord. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:33-1For information about citations, and how to get more information about a particular law, see Finding the Law in the Landlord Tenant section.

Rights of hotel and motel residents

Tourists or travelers, who stay in hotels and motels as guests, do not have to be taken to court to be evicted. The hotel owner or operator can lock guests out of their rooms if they don't pay their bills or if they disturb the peace. But what about people who have no other place to live and, because of the housing shortage, are forced to live in motels or hotels for months or even years at a time? Are these people residents or tenants who can only be evicted through the court process? Maybe. The issue is whether the relationship between the “hotel” or “motel” owner and the resident is that of a “landlord” and “tenant,” or whether the “hotel” or “motel” is really acting as a rooming or boarding house under the law.

  • Facts that support the existence of a landlord tenant relationship may include, but not be limited to, some of the below factors:
  • Whether you have lived in the hotel or motel for three months or longer;
  • Whether it is your only residence and you intend to stay there for a long time or indefinitely, even if you recently moved in;
  • Whether the majority of other residents are not just short term guests and consider the motel or hotel to be their primary residence;
  • Whether the motel or hotel operator knew, or should have known, that you were not just a short term guest; and/or
  • Whether the motel or hotel operator acted like a landlord

Courts have interpreted this issue on a case by case basis. In one case, a family that lived in a hotel for over two years because they had no other place to live was considered a tenant and could only be evicted through court order under the Anti-Eviction Act. Cite: Williams v. Alexander Hamilton Hotel, 249 N.J. Super. 481 (App. Div. 1991). In another case, a person who lived in a motel for two months was not a tenant and could be locked out of his room without court process. Cite: Francis v. Trinidad Motel, 261 N.J. Super. 252 (App Div. 1993). In another case, the court held that a person who lived in a hotel for three years and had no intention of moving to other accommodations was a tenant, and that the hotel was the tenant's permanent home. The tenant was entitled to the protection of the Anti-Eviction Act and had the right to sue for damages for an illegal lockout. Cite: McNeil v. Estate of Lachman, 285 N.J. Super. 212 (App. Div. 1995)For information about citations, and how to get more information about a particular law, see Finding the Law in the Landlord Tenant section.

If you live in a hotel or motel, it will help if you can show that the owner agreed, or should have known, that you were not just a short-term guest, or that the owner did or said things that made you believe that you were a tenant. (Some hotels or motels are actually rooming and boarding houses. Read the next section for more about this.) You may need the help of a private attorney or Legal Services if you find yourself in this situation.

Rights of rooming and boarding house residents

Residents of licensed rooming and boarding homes are protected from self-help evictions. Owners must evict residents through the same court process as any other tenant. Cite: N.J.A.C. 5:27-3.3(c). Some hotels and motels are really rooming and boarding houses because people live there as their only residence for extended periods of time. The law considers a hotel or motel a rooming and boarding house if at least 15 percent of the rooms are occupied by people who have lived there for more than 90 days. This means that all of the residents (but not the guests) at the hotel or motel have the same rights as rooming and boarding house residents, including the right to be evicted only through court process. Cite: N.J.S.A. 55:13B-3(h). You may need the help of a private attorney or Legal Services to figure out if this law applies to you.

The Causes for Eviction

What constitutes "just cause" to evict a tenant?

With few exceptions, tenants in New Jersey can only be evicted for "just cause". Eviction for cause is a basic rule of landlord-tenant law in New Jersey. This means that, with just a few exceptions, tenants can be evicted only under one of the causes or grounds for eviction listed in the Anti-Eviction Act. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1. There are 18 different causes for eviction under the Anti-Eviction Act.

No tenant can be evicted unless the landlord can establish one of these grounds. The law covers tenants in all types of rental property: single-family houses, apartment buildings or complexes, rooming and boarding houses, or mobile homes. Even peoples living in motels or hotels are covered in certain cases.

The few exceptions to eviction for cause

Almost all tenants are covered by the Anti-Eviction Act. However, the law does not apply to tenants residing in buildings or houses with three or fewer apartments where the owner lives in one of the apartments. This is known as the "owner-occupied" exception. Although they must still be taken to court, tenants subject to the "owner-occupied" exception may be evicted at the end of the lease term for any reason. If you are a month-to-month tenant living in a building with three or fewer apartments and your landlord lives in one of those apartments, the landlord needs only to give you a month's notice to quit before taking you to court. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53.

Other exceptions involve certain situations where one of the tenants has a developmental disability, and the dwelling is owned by a trust or a member of the immediate family of the disabled tenant. The Anti-Eviction Act does not protect tenants in these situations. The aim of this provision is to enable the eviction without cause of co-tenants living with the developmentally disabled tenant.

As explained above,hotel and motel "guests" are not covered by the Anti-Eviction Act. But people who are not just "guests," but are actually living in the hotel or motel because they have no other home and have been there for some time, are really tenants and are covered by the Anti-Eviction Act. The Anti-Eviction Act does cover people who are living in rooming and boarding homes. Protections for rooming and boarding house residents are discussed above.

Tenants in foreclosed property

A tenant is protected under the Anti-Eviction Act even when a bank or mortgage lender files an action to foreclose on your rented property because your landlord has not paid the mortgage. This means that the foreclosing bank or mortgage lender must follow the law and can only evict you for one of the causes under the law. Cite: Chase Manhattan Bank v. Josephson, 135 N.J. 209 (1994).

What if you are not covered by eviction for cause? It is important to remember that, even if the Anti-Eviction Act does not apply to you, the landlord or property owner still must take you to court before you can be removed from your home.

Tenants covered by the Anti-Eviction Act have a very important protection. They cannot be evicted just because their leases have ended. This is because the Anti-Eviction Act says that every lease, whether oral or written, must be renewed. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.3(a). A tenant can only be evicted if the landlord can prove one of the good causes for eviction under the law. The ending or expiration of a lease is not one of these good causes. However long your lease, you do not have to move just because your lease is up. Tenants can move at the end of their leases if they want to. But landlords can only make tenants move by proving good cause in court. 

A note about "notices"

The next section describes the kinds of notices landlords must give in order to try to evict a tenant for one of the "good causes" in the Anti-Eviction Act.

 "Notices to cease" are notices that tell tenants if they don't stop doing something that the landlord says violates the lease or the law they will be evicted. The notice must also tell the tenant that if she or he stops the disorderly conduct, the tenant won't be evicted. Cite: RWB Newton Assoc. v. Gunn, 224 N.J. Super. 704 (App. Div. 1988). "Notices to cease" give tenants a second chance to avoid eviction.

"Notices to quit" are notices that tell tenants that the landlord wants them to leave by a certain date, or the landlord will take them to court to try to evict them. The Anti-Eviction Act gives the minimum number of days or months of notice required for each of the legal grounds for eviction. The notice to quit must contain a clear statement of the facts (dates, times, acts complained of, etc.) and the law the landlord the landlord intends to rely on in court to evict the tenant. The notice must state the specific date by which the tenant has to vacate explicitly in the notice.


Note: If you live in public housing, or another type of subsidized housing, you may be entitled to additional notices.


The Only Legal Grounds for Eviction (N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1)

The following list of grounds for eviction are described in more detail below, along with information about your rights in each instance.

a. Not paying rent

Notices required:​

No notices are required, except where the tenant resides in federally subsidized housing. In public housing, a 14-day notice is required.

Comments:

  • The Homelessness Prevention Program and Emergency Assistance Program may help with back rent. See the Homelessness section.
  • Landlords sometimes try to evict tenants for charges that are not really part of the “rent.” Additional charges cannot be made part of the rent in an eviction case unless there is a written lease that contains special language. See Late Charges and Attorney's fees. And for tenants who live in federally subsidized housing, such as public housing, extra fees like late charges and attorney’s fees can never be included as part of the rent in an eviction case. Landlords and attorneys who wrongly claim that certain charges are part of the rent can be sued under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Cite: Hodges v. Feinstein, 189 N.J. 210 (2007).

b. Disorderly conduct that disturbs other tenants

 Notices required:

  • Notice to cease
  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing an eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Notice to cease must specifically and describe in detail the disorderly conduct and demand that the tenant stop it or face eviction. Cite: A.P. Development Corp. v. Band, 113 N.J. 485 (1988). The notice must also tell you that if you stop the disorderly conduct, then you won’t be evicted. Cite: RWB Newton Assoc. v. Gunn, 224 N.J. Super. 704 (App. Div. 1988).
  • Disorderly conduct must then continue after the notice to cease for the tenant to be evicted.

c. Damage or destruction of the landlord’s property

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The tenant’s conduct that causes the damage must be intentional or grossly negligent. (You can’t be evicted because of damage caused by a simple accident or mistake on your part.) Cite: Korman Suites v. Kelsch Assoc., 372 NJ Super 161 (L.Div. 2004)
Alterations made without the landlord’s consent/authorization can be deemed as damage, even if the alterations are an improvement.

d. Violation of landlord’s rules and regulations

Notices required:

  • Notice to cease.
  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least one calendar month before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Notice to cease must specifically and describt in detail the violation of rules and demand that the tenant stop it or face eviction. The notice should cite the rule that the landlord feels is being violated.
  • The rules and regulations must be accepted by the tenant in writing or be part of the lease at the beginning of the lease term.
  • The rules and regulations must be reasonable.
  • Violation of the rules and regulations must be “substantial.”

e. (1) Violation of lease agreement

Notices required:

  • Notice to cease.
  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least one calendar month before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Notice to cease must describe the lease violation and demand that the tenant stop it or face eviction. The notice should also cite the number of the lease provision that the landlord feels is being violated.
  • The lease must be reasonable.
  • Violation of the lease must be “substantial.”
  • The landlord must reserve “right of reentry” in the lease. If the lease does not contain these specific words, or other words giving the landlord the right to go back into the apartment if the tenant breaches the lease, then the right of reentry has not been reserved. (Even if a landlord reserves the right of reentry, the landlord must still go to court and follow all of the other legal requirements described in this manual before he or she can file for eviction.)

e. (2) Violation of public housing lease agreement provision prohibiting illegal use of drugs or other illegal activities

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant in a reasonable amount of time before filing the eviction suit. Cites: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.2 (h); 24 C.F.R. 966.4(l)(3).
  • Note: No notice to cease is required.
  • See Failure to follow federal notice requirements and procedures for additional notice requirements.

Comments:

  • Federal law allows housing authorities to have a lease provision prohibiting illegal use of controlled dangerous substances (drugs). However, the housing authority must have amended its lease to include this provision.
  • The lease provision must have been in effect at the beginning of the lease term.
  • Eviction may also occur for violation of a public housing lease provision prohibiting “other illegal activities.”
  • The lease may prohibit illegal activity on or off the premises.
  • A public housing authority may evict a tenant when a member of the tenant’s household or a guest engages in drug-related activity, even if the tenant did not know about the drug-related activity. Cite: Dept. of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker, 122 S.Ct. 1230 (2002). The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has urged public housing authorities “to be guided by compassion and common sense” in these cases, and that “(e)viction should be the last option explored, after all others have been exhausted.” The New Jersey courts have agreed with this position. The housing authority has to have a good reason for evicting innocent family members. Cite: Oakwood Plaza Apts. v. Smith, 352 N.J. Super. 467 (App. Div. 2002); Newark Housing Authority v. Martinez-Vega, 424 N.J. Super 24 (L. Div. 2012). If you are a tenant in this situation, you should contact an attorney.

f. Not paying a rent increase

 Notices required:

  • One-month notice ending tenancy and notice of the rent increase.

Comments:

  • Notice requirements are explained above.
  • The rent increase must not be "unconscionable" and must also comply with the local rent control law if the town has one. See Rent Increases.

g. Housing or health code violations where:

  • (1) The landlord needs to board up or tear down the building.
  • (2) The landlord cannot correct violations without removing the tenant.
  • (3) The landlord must end overcrowding or an illegal occupancy.
  • (4) A government agency wants to close a building as part of a redevelopment project.

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three months before filing the eviction suit. The notices must be in the form required by the NJ Department of Community Affairs. Cite: N.J.A.C. 5:11-7.2 and 7.3

Comments:

  • Housing or health code violations must be substantial, and the landlord must be financially unable to make repairs.
  • In most cases, the tenant cannot be evicted until relocation assistance is provided. See Relocation assistance, which explains the Relocation Support Program and how to apply for relocation assistance.
  • The state must report to the court whether repairs can be made with tenants present for reason g.(2) above. N.J.A.C. 5:11-7.4

h. Landlord wants to permanently retire building from residential use

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit—must be served on the tenant at least 18 months before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The notice must say in detail what the landlord plans to do with the building. If the landlord’s notice fails to clearly state what the future use of the property will be, the notice is defective and the court cannot evict the tenant. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(b); Sacks Realty v. Batch, 235 N.J. Super. 269, aff'd. 248 N.J. Super. 424 (App. Div. 1991).
  • The landlord must send a copy of the notice to quit to the Department of Community Affairs and to the rent control office.
  • The tenant cannot be evicted unless the landlord has all necessary approvals to convert the building to non-residential use.
  • This ground cannot be used for eviction in order to avoid relocation assistance that is available in the case of housing and health code violations. See g. above.
  • The landlord is liable for damages if the tenant is evicted for this reason and the landlord then re-rents to another tenant.

i. Not accepting changes in the lease

Notices required:

  • Landlord must give a tenant a month's notice telling the tenant that the old lease is being terminated and that the tenant is being offered a new lease containing changed terms, which must be described in the notice. If the tenant does not accept the new terms within the 30-day period, then the landlord must serve the tenant with another notice (a notice to quit) at least one month before filing the eviction suit. Cite: Prospect Point Gardens Inc. v. Timoshenko, 293 N.J. Super 459 (L.Div. 1996).

Comments:

  • Changes in the lease must be “reasonable.” In determining whether the changes are reasonable, a court must take into account the tenant's circumstances as well as the landlord's. Cite: 447 Assoc. v. Miranda, 115 N.J. 522 (1989)
  • The lease can only be changed at the end of the lease.
  • You can also avoid eviction in cases where you refused to sign a lease or accept a lease change that you thought was unreasonable, even after you lose your case. As long as you agree to accept the new lease or lease change after the hearing is over, and pay any rent due, the landlord must allow you to stay. Cite: Village Bridge Apartments v. Mammucari, 239 N.J. Super. 235 (App. Div. 1990).

j. Paying rent late month after month (habitual lateness)

Notices required:

  • Notice to cease.
  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least one month before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The notice to cease must demand that the tenant stop paying rent late.
  • The tenant must continue to pay rent late at least two more times after receiving the notice to cease. Cite: 534 Hawthorne Avenue Corp. v. Barnes, 204 N.J. Super. 144 (App. Div. 1985); Tower Management Corp. v. Podesta, 226 N.J. Super. 300 (App. Div. 1988). Even two late payments after the notice to cease may not be enough, depending upon the facts involved in a particular case. Cite: Carter v. Richardson, 417 N.J. Super 60 (App. Div. 2010)
  • If the tenant pays rent late after receiving the notice to cease, the landlord must keep providing the tenant with notices that paying rent late violates the lease. If the landlord does not give this notice every time the landlord accepts a late payment, the landlord can lose the right to evict the tenant. Cite: Ivy Hill Park v. Abutidze, 371 N.J. Super. 103 (App. Div. 2004).
In some cases, even if a tenant has been habitually late, the particular facts of the case may be enough for a court to do something other than evict the tenant. Cite: 279 4th Ave. Mgt., L.L.C. v. Mollett, 386 N.J. Super 31 (App. Div.) certify. Denied 185 N.J. 354 (2006).

k. Conversion to condominium or cooperative

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three years before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The tenant must be served with notice of intent to convert, the plan for conversion, and a notice of the right to rent comparable housing in addition to the notice to quit.

l. The owner wants to live in the apartment or house

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least two months before filing the eviction suit. If there is a written lease, the eviction suit cannot be filed until after the lease expires.

Comments:

  • Only applies where (1) the landlord is converting the apartment into a condominium and wants to sell it to a buyer who will move in; (2) the owner of three or fewer condominium or cooperative units wants to move in, or is selling the unit to a buyer who wants to move in; or (3) the owner of a house or building with three or fewer apartments wants to move in or is selling the house or building to a buyer who wants to move into the tenant's unit.
  • If the landlord is selling to a buyer who wants to move in, there must be a contract for sale and the contract must state that the house or apartment will be vacant at the time of closing.
  • The buyer or owner must intend to live in the house or apartment and not convert it to commercial use. Cite: Aquino Colonial Funeral Home v. Pittari, 245 N.J. Super. 585 (App. Div. 1991).
  • The owner must be an actual "person" who intends to live in the house, not a corporation or a company. Cite: 3519-3513 Realty, L.L.C. v Law, 406 N.J. Super 423 (App. Div. 2009).

m. Tenant loses a job that includes rental unit

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Applies where the tenant works for the landlord as a janitor, superintendent, or in some other way; the tenant gets to live in the apartment as part of the job; and the landlord ends the tenant’s job.
If the tenants were living in the apartment before they were hired by the landlord, this part of the law cannot be used to evict them. Cite: Kearny Court Assoc. v. Spence, 262 N.J. Super 241 (App. Div. 1993)

n. Conviction of a drug offense

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The drug offense must have taken place in the apartment building or on the grounds of the apartment complex.
  • The tenant must be convicted of a drug offense. (“Conviction” means pleading guilty or being found guilty in court.) This also applies if the tenant is a juvenile and has been found delinquent for a drug offense.
  • This will not apply if the person convicted has completed or been admitted to a drug rehabilitation program.
  • This also applies if the tenant (1) lets a family member or anyone else who has been convicted of a drug offense in the building or complex live in the tenant’s apartment, or (2) has in the past allowed that person to live in the apartment. This section does not apply to permitting a juvenile to occupy the premises where the juvenile has been found delinquent for the offense of use or possession.
  • The tenant being evicted for letting a drug offender live in the apartment must know that the person has been convicted. If not, the tenant cannot be evicted. Cite: Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken v. Alicea, 297 N.J. Super. 310 (App. Div. 1997); Housing Authority of the City of Jersey City v. Thomas, 318 N.J. Super. 191 (App. Div. 1999). However, if the tenant lives in subsidized housing—even if it is privately owned—the landlord may be able to evict the tenant even if the tenant did not know. But the landlord must have a good reason for evicting an innocent tenant in this situation. Cite: Oakwood Plaza Apts. v. Smith, 352 N.J. Super. 467 (2002).
  • No eviction suit may be brought more than two years after the date of the conviction, or more than two years after the person’s release from jail, whichever is later.
  • Specific rules apply when the landlord is a public housing authority. See e.(2).

o. Conviction of assaulting, attacking, or threatening the landlord

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The tenant must be convicted of assaulting or threatening harm to the landlord, a member of the landlord’s family, or the landlord’s employees. (“Conviction” means pleading guilty or being found guilty in court.) This also applies if the tenant is a juvenile who has been found delinquent for such acts.
  • This also applies if the tenant (1) lets a family member or anyone else who has been convicted of such assaults or threats live in the tenant’s apartment, or (2) has in the past allowed that person to live in the apartment.
  • The tenant who is being evicted for letting a person convicted of such assaults or threats live in the apartment must know of the conviction. Cite: Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken v. Alicea, 297 N.J. Super. 310 (App. Div. 1997); Housing Authority of the City of Jersey City v. Thomas, 318 N.J. Super. 191 (App. Div. 1999).
  • No eviction suit may be brought more than two years after the date of the conviction, or more than two years after the person’s release from jail, whichever is later.

p. Engaging or being involved in drug activity, theft, or assaults or threats against a landlord

Notices required:

  • Notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Under this section, unlike sections n., o., and q., the landlord does not have to show a conviction—only that the activity violates criminal law. But the landlord still has to prove that the tenant actually committed acts that violate criminal law.
  • The drug activity must have occurred in the apartment building or apartment complex. However, this section will not apply if the person who has been engaging in drug-related activity completes or is admitted to a drug rehabilitation program.
  • The assault or terroristic threats must have involved the landlord, a member of the landlord’s family, or an employee of the landlord.
  • Theft means theft of property on the leased premises—from the landlord, the leased premises, or from other tenants residing in the leased premises.
  • This section also applies if the tenant (1) lets a family member or anyone else who has engaged in these activities live in the tenant’s apartment, or (2) has in the past allowed that person to live in the apartment. However, this section will not apply if the person who has been engaging in drug- related activity is a juvenile who has been found delinquent for the offense of use or possession.
  • The tenant being evicted for letting an offender live in the apartment must know that the person has been engaging in drug-related activity. If not, the tenant cannot be evicted. Cite: Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken v. Alicea, 297 N.J. Super. 310 (App. Div. 1997); Housing Authority of the City of Jersey City v. Thomas, 318 N.J. Super. 191 (App. Div. 1999). However, if the tenant lives in subsidized housing—even if it is privately owned—the landlord may be able to evict the tenant even if the tenant did not know. But the landlord must have a good reason for evicting an innocent tenant in this situation. Cite: Oakwood Plaza Apts. v. Smith, 352 N.J. Super. 467 (2002).
  • Specific rules apply when the landlord is a public housing authority. See also e.(2).

q. Conviction of theft offense

Notices required:

  • The notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • The tenant must have been convicted of theft of property from the landlord, from the leased premises, or from other tenants residing in the same building or complex. (“Conviction” means pleading guilty or being found guilty in court.) This section applies if the tenant is a juvenile who has been found delinquent for such acts.
  • This section also applies if the tenant lets a family member or anyone else who has been convicted of theft occupy the premises.
  • The tenant who is being evicted for letting an offender live in the apartment must know that that person has been convicted. If not, then the tenant cannot be evicted. Cite: Housing Authority of the City of Hoboken v. Alicea, 297 N.J. Super. 310 (App. Div. 1997); Housing Authority of the City of Jersey City v. Thomas, 318 N.J. Super. 191 (App. Div. 1999).

r. Human Trafficking

Notices required:

  • The notice to quit must be served on the tenant at least three days before filing the eviction suit.

Comments:

  • Under this section, unlike sections n., o., and q., the landlord does not have to show a conviction-only that the activity violates the human trafficking criminal law. But the landlord still has to prove that the tenant actually committed acts that violate criminal law.
  • This section also applies if the tenant (1) lets a family member or anyone else who has engaged in these activities live in the tenant's apartment, or (2) has in the past allowed that person to live in the apartment.
  • No eviction suit may be brought more than two years after the date of the conviction, or more than two years after the person's release from jail, whichever is later.

Note: If you live in public housing, or another type of subsidized housing, you may be entitled to additional notices.

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8/15/2017