New Jersey residential leases typically run for fixed periods of a year or more, during which time a tenant has a right to occupy the property in exchange for making rent payments to the landlord. When either party wants to end the lease early, the termination process generally begins when one party sends a notice to vacate to the other party. The form and content of that notice will vary depending on which party is terminating the lease and that party’s reasons for early termination.
Tenants should provide a Notice of Intent to Vacate even upon natural end of lease agreement
When a tenant intends to leave a premises at the natural end of a lease term, that tenant will be in a better position if he or she gives a notice to landlord of their intention to vacation some time before the lease end date. Without a notice to vacate, a landlord might have the right under the terms and conditions of the lease to impose an automatic renewal or to convert the lease to a month-to-month agreement.
A tenant who needs to terminate a lease early might assume that the landlord always has a right to retain a security deposit and to impose other penalties. However, New Jersey law does grant tenants an early termination right under certain circumstances. Tenants should consult with an attorney to better understand their rights and obligations when they need to terminate a lease early or their leases are nearing an end date.
A landlord should also provide a Notice to Vacate at the natural end of a lease
New Jersey law does not require a landlord to issue a notice to vacate to a tenant that is moving out of a property at the natural end of a lease term. However again, best practice suggests that the landlord should still give notice to avoid any objection on the part of the tenant. Remember, if the tenant is renting the property at will or on a month-to-month basis, the landlord must provide a Notice to Vacate before the tenant’s next rent payment comes due. A New Jersey eviction lawyer can provide the specific details on the form, content, and timing of that important piece of the eviction process.
A landlord must issue a specific notice to vacate to terminate a lease prematurely
If a landlord wants to force a tenant out of a leased premises before the natural end of a lease, a Notice to Vacate is the first step. The requirement to provide that Notice, including the form, content, and timing of the Notice, will depend on the reason for the landlord’s termination prior to the lease end date:
- A landlord can begin an eviction lawsuit against a tenant without prior notice if the tenant has failed to pay rent when it is due, and the landlord has not routinely accepted late rent payments from the tenant. In certain situations, a tenant may be able to mitigate the proceedings by paying all back rent to the landlord or depositing rent with a court registry. If the payment does not resolve the situation permanently, the Tenant can still buy some additional time and delay any later eviction proceeding.
- A landlord can give a 3-day Notice to Vacate if the tenant has exhibited disorderly conduct, has destroyed the property, has been convicted of making or using illegal substances in the property, or has assaulted or threatened to harm the landlord. In these and other situations, a tenant will have no opportunity to stop the eviction process.
- A landlord can give a 30-day Notice to Vacate where a tenant has habitually paid rent late or has routinely violated other lease provisions. In these circumstances, the notice to vacate must include specific information on how the tenant violated the lease agreement and the date on which the landlord intends to terminate it.
An improper or incorrect notice to vacate can delay an eviction and can substantially increase the landlord’s costs for the lease termination process. New Jersey landlords should always consult with experienced eviction lawyers who can prepare a notice that will likely pass muster in any subsequent eviction proceeding.
Talk to Eviction Attorneys at New Jersey Eviction Law About the Circumstances of Your Notice to Vacate
The New Jersey eviction attorneys at GLR&W, LLC represent landlords. Our team can draft an accurate Notice to Vacate to facilitate and expedite the lease termination process. Please call our offices in Mount Holly to consult with an experienced eviction lawyer about drafting or defending your Notice to Vacate and the circumstances surrounding your lease termination.