04 Feb Terminating a Lease or Rental Agreement in NJ : FAQs
A rental agreement in New Jersey is more friendly to the renter than other states. New Jersey is one of the most tenant-friendly states in the country, as a matter of fact.
That gives tenants more rights than they would in a state like Arkansas. But it also provides extra challenges for the landlord.
Terminating a lease in New Jersey is easier for the tenant than the landlord. But you must still meet certain conditions. In many cases, you must keep paying rent through the end of your lease agreement, even if you no longer occupy the unit.
Keep reading to find out everything tenants and building managers need to know about terminating a lease.
What Is a Lease?
A tenant who signs a lease is agreeing to occupy the home for a certain amount of time under certain conditions. A year is a typical length for a lease, although they can also be longer or shorter.
The lease also sets out certain conditions that landlords must follow.
What if the landlord no longer wants the tenant to live there? They need specific reasons to evict them. In New Jersey, that often means hiring an eviction lawyer.
For instance, New Jersey doesn’t allow a landlord to say, “You haven’t paid. You’ve got three days to get out.”
Instead, the state’s Anti-Eviction Act requires the landlord to follow certain steps first. Not paying rent is a justifiable reason to evict someone. But the process often takes 30 days or more.
Terminating a Lease as a Tenant
As a tenant, you can’t decide to leave one day because you feel like it. Your landlord expects you to stay through the lease term.
Let’s look at a common scenario. A man and a woman move in together and sign a 12-month lease. After seven months, they break up.
The man wants to move out. Can he do that?
He can. There’s no law that forces him to stay in the apartment. But he’ll still be responsible for the remaining five months’ rent in most cases.
Let’s say the man and woman broke up right around the time he’s called to active military duty. Federal law allows for termination of a lease agreement in that case.
Under New Jersey law, someone can also break a lease if they’re a victim of domestic violence. It’s not as simple as saying, “My partner hit me.” The victim needs to take out a restraining order, among other things.
What if your landlord changes the locks without telling you? That may count as harassment. Harassment from a landlord is also an acceptable reason for lease termination in the Garden State.
Understanding Rental Agreements
We often sign paperwork without reading it. That’s an especially bad idea when it comes to rental agreements.
As a landlord or building manager, you may think terminating a lease is easy. It’s not, especially in a state like New Jersey.
If you’ve got a problem tenant, we can help you evict them legally. We have years of experience with both landlords’ and tenants’ rights.
Contact us today for a consultation.