Written by attorney James Alfred Caporrino

Common Misconception About Residential Evictions in New Jersey

One of the most common misconceptions relating to residential evictions in New Jersey is the belief that if a tenant is a month-to-month tenant, that tenant can be evicted upon 30 days' notice. Generally, unless the tenancy is in an owner-occupied premises with not more than two rental units (not including the landlord's unit), a tenant cannot be evicted except for "cause" or "fault" on the part of the tenant as defined in N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1. This is true whether the tenant has a written lease for a specific term or is a tenant without a written lease, commonly called a "month to month" tenant. There are seventeen (17) grounds for eviction in the statute, under subsections "a." through "q."

The most common ground for eviction is non-payment of rent. However, disorderly conduct, non-monetary violations of the lease, habitual late payment of rent and failure to accept reasonable lease changes may also be grounds for eviction. Except for non-payment of rent, in order to evict a tenant for other grounds, a landlord must provide the tenant with certain notices. The notice requirements applicable to the specific ground for eviction must be strictly complied with before filing a summary dispossess action to remove the tenant from the premises. Some grounds require that the tenant be served with both a "notice to cease" and a "notice to quit", before an eviction action can be filed. Many a complaint for eviction has been dismissed by the court simply due to the failure of the landlord to provide the proper notices to the tenant.

Therefore, a careful review of the relevant statutory sections is critical before filing to evict a residential tenant in New Jersey.

Additional resources provided by the author

The grounds for eviction may be found in N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1. The notice provisions may be found in N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.2.

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