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Landlord Tenant Law FAQs

My tenant is not paying rent? Can I evict for nonpayment?

Yes. Nonpayment of rent is the most common reason to evict. You must comply with the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act's requirements. Only residential tenants have these protections.

Can I terminate a Lease early if my tenant is damaging the property?

Yes. You must tell the tenant to stop damaging the property in writing by certified and regular mail. This is called a Notice to Cease.

Then, if the damage is not repaired or if there is more damage, you must send the tenant a Notice to Quit. Once this is done, you may file suit for eviction. It is up to a judge to decide if you have proven your case to evict.

Can I refuse to rent to someone just because they have small children?

No. Federal Law prohibits this type of discrimination under 42 U.S. Code Section 3604 (a).

How much notice must I give if I want to increase rent?

If there is no written lease, then 30 days is sufficient notice. If there is a lease, then you must follow the lease's words to see how much notice you must give. When our law firm prepares a lease we like to give a sixty day notice of rent increases.

Can I use the tenant's security deposit to replace a worn carpet?

The laws controlling security deposits are complicated. The normal wear and tear from every day usage will not allow the use of the security deposit to replace a worn carpet. Security deposits are help to make sure the tenant pays rent and returns the home or apartment in good condition after allowing for normal use.The normal wearing out of a carpet or other part of the rented property is not the tenant's responsibility.

Failing to refund or to make legal use of the security deposit and to account for the deductions can have serious financial consequences to a landlord. Failing to refund the deposit or withholding the deposit after the lease if over can make the property owner obligated to pay the tenant twice the security deposit plus the tenant's legal fees.

Can I sue the tenant for the full amount of the lease if they terminate early?

Yes, but you must make reasonable efforts to find another tenant. This is called mitigating your damages or financial losses. The tenant cannot have a good reason to permit the tenant to end the lease such as the home is without heat or functioning plumbing.

Is my landlord required to make repairs within a certain amount of time after being notified that repairs are needed?

Yes. The law allows a reasonable time depending on the circumstances. If repairs are not made within a reasonable time, the tenant may notify the landlord, have the repairs made, pay for them and then deduct the cost from the rent. The tenant must also act reasonably and fairly. The tenant must send the landlord proof of the repairs being needed and proof of payment.

When can my landlord enter my home?

In an emergency such as a fire, leaking roof or other damage, immediately upon telling the tenant. In non-emergency situations, the law requires reasonable notice. Twenty-four hours written notice may be sufficient.

Do I need a lawyer if my landlord is evicting me?

No, but at the very least speak with a lawyer who handles landlord tenant cases. You may have facts that will let your lawyer defend you and avoid your eviction. No one needs to have a lawyer but it is always a bad idea not to hire a lawyer.


Initial meetings with an attorney should be more than a “meet and greet” session. Often, real progress toward a possible solution can be made. Your first consultation with Bill Wolfson is offered free of charge. We invite you to schedule it today so that you can get immediate answers to your most pressing questions.