New Jersey Rental Laws

Written on December 7, 2015 by , updated on November 1, 2017

flag-of-new-jerseyThis article summarizes some key New Jersey Rental Laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Official Statutes:

Unofficial Statutes:


Security Deposit:

  • Exclusions: The statutes that regulate security deposits do not apply to owner-occupied premises with not more than two rental units where the tenant has failed to provide 30 days written notice to the landlord invoking the provisions of this act. (§§ 46:8-26 (pdf))
  • Security Deposit Maximum: One and a half months rent. (§§ 46:8-21.2 (pdf))
  • Security Deposit Interest: Required. Interest on deposit or pre-paid rent remains property of the tenant and shall be paid to the tenant in cash, or be credited toward rent due, on the renewal or anniversary of tenant’s lease or, if notified in writing before the anniversary, on January 31. (§§ 46:8-19 (pdf))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: All deposit money may be deposited or invested in one interest-bearing or dividend-yielding account as long as all other statutory requirements are followed. Statute states that security deposit funds may not be mingled with the personal property of the landlord. Landlords with 10 or more units must invest deposit funds in shares of a qualified money market account. Landlords with fewer than 10 rental units shall deposit money in an interest-bearing account at prevailing rates and insured by the federal government. See statute for other provisions. (§§ 46:8-19 (pdf))
  • Pet Deposits: No statute, therefore, pet deposits are allowed, as long as the total deposit does not exceed one and one-half months rent. (§§ 46:8-21.2 (pdf))
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: Landlord has 30 days from the termination of the lease to return deposit plus tenant’s portion of the interest or accumulated earnings. See statute for rules for deposit return in cases of fire, flood or other situations. (§§ 46:8-21.1 (pdf))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: No statute. Typically, all or a portion of the deposit can be used for actual damages (nonpayment of rent or fees, or physical damage above normal wear and tear)
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Interest or earnings on the deposit and any deductions shall be itemized and tenant notified by personal delivery, registered or certified mail. (§§ 46:8-21.1 (pdf))
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: Within 30 days of receipt of the deposit, landlord shall notify tenant of the name and address of the financial institution in which the funds are deposited, the current interest rate, and the amount of the deposit. Such notice must also be given within 30 days of moving the deposit from one financial institution to another, at the time of each annual interest payment and within 30 days of transfer of ownership of the property. (§§ 46:8-19 (pdf))
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to follow the regulations found in §§ 46:8-21.1 (pdf), the tenant could be awarded double the amount of said monies plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease.
  • Rent Increase Notice: Before the rent can be increased, landlord must give the tenant a written Notice to Quit and notice of the rent increase. Notice must be given as agreed to in the lease, but at least 30 days prior to the increase, or as stipulated within any applicable local rent control ordinance. (New Jersey – Rent Increase Bulletin (Page 1) (pdf))
  • Rent Grace Period: 5 “business days” (any day other than a Saturday, Sunday or State or federal holiday) only if dwelling is rented to senior citizens receiving Social Security or other old age pensions and by recipients of Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income or benefits under Work First New Jersey. (§§ 2A:42-6.1 and §§ 2A:42-6.3 (pdf))
  • Late Fees: Any fees that the landlord intends to charge should be clearly stated. A lease may permit a “late charge” when the rent is not paid by a certain date. (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Returned Check Fees: After 35 days after demand for remedy of bounced payment, payee can charge $100 or triple face amount, whichever is greater, but never more than $500, including legal fees and court costs. (§§ 2A:32A-1)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): If landlord fails to maintain the property at an adequate standard of habitability, a tenant may withhold all or part of the rent. If the landlord tries to evict for nonpayment of rent, tenant is entitled to use the landlord’s failure to provide a habitable residence as a defense. (New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf)) (§§ 2A:42-88)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Case law, specifically Marini v. Ireland, 56 N.J. 130, authorized the self-help remedy of repair and deduct. A tenant may repair deficiencies in “vital facilities” and deduct the amount of the repair from the rent. Examples of defects in “vital facilities” would include broken toilets, no hot or cold water, lack of heat or electricity or broken windows. To use this remedy, the tenant cannot have caused the deficiency and must have provided adequate notice in writing and by certified mail, return receipt requested, and given the landlord adequate time to remedy. (New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: A lease may provide for payment by the tenant of the landlord’s attorney fees and court costs in the event of eviction for non-payment of rent or for other causes. (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 2)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: No statute but case law dictates landlord must make a reasonable attempt. (Sommer v. Kridel 1977)
  • Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Yearly Lease with No End Date: 3 Months (§§ 2A:18-56(a))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 1 Month (§§ 2A:18-56(b))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 7 Days (§§ 2A:18-56(c))
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: No statute
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Immediate termination (§§ 2A:18-61.2 (pdf)), unless landlord has previously accepted late rent, then 30 days notice is required. (§§ 2A:18-61.2(b) (pdf))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 30 Days for lease violations, 3 days for disorderly conduct or injury to the premise. (§§ 2A:18-61.2 (pdf))
  • Holdover Tenant “Double Rent”: If a tenant does not move out of the property after the end of the lease or notice to quit, the penalty will be double the normal rent for as many months as the tenant remains in possession of the property (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-5 and 2A:42-6).
  • Required Notice before Entry: Reasonable notification required, normally one day. (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Allowed with reasonable notification. (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: A landlord may request entry to a rental unit to show the unit to prospective renters or buyers, or to perform other services. However, there is no law that obligates a tenant to allow a landlord access to the rental premises for purposes other than inspection, maintenance and repair. Therefore, the issue of entry in other cases should be addressed in the terms of the lease. (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Allowed in case of emergency where a condition exists that poses an immediate threat to the safety or health of persons using or near the premises. (New Jersey – Right of Entry Bulletin (Page 2) (pdf))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 26) (pdf)). If the landlord continues in “disorderly conduct”, the landlord may be sentenced to up to six months in jail. (§§ 2C:43-8)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No, this is a form of “self-help” eviction.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: At the time of the creation of the first tenancy, a landlord shall file with the clerk of the municipality a certificate of registration that contains the name and address of the owner or owners, or those of the corporate officers if the owner is a corporation, as well as of the managing agent and superintendent or other person employed to provide regular maintenance service. The clerk shall make the certificate reasonably available for public inspection. Within 30 days of the creation of a new tenancy, landlord shall provide each tenant a copy of the certificate of registration. (§§ 46:8-28, §§ 46:8-28.1 and §§ 46:8-29 (pdf))
  • Minimum Temperature: From October 1 of each year to the next succeeding May 1, every unit of dwelling space and every habitable room therein shall be maintained at a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 11:00 P.M. and at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 11:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. The heating system shall be capable of maintaining the minimum required temperature in all habitable rooms without the necessity of heating adjoining rooms more than five degrees higher than said minimum required temperature. (§§ 5:10-14.4(a) (pdf))
  • Abandoned Personal Property: Landlord must follow specific procedures found in §§2A:18-72 through §§ 2A:18-84.
  • Crime Insurance: Landlord shall make available to all tenants information about crime insurance through the Federal Crime Insurance Program of Title VI of Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970, and advise them where applications for such insurance may be obtained. See statutes for additional provisions and penalties. (§§ 46:8-39, §§ 46:8-40 and §§ 46:8-41)
  • Statement of Legal Rights: At the beginning of each tenancy, landlord shall give a copy of the statement, prepared by the Department of Community Affairs, that lays out the primary, clearly established legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and also post it in one or more locations so it is prominent and accessible to all tenants. (§§ 46:8-45 and §§ 46:8-46 (pdf))
  • Flood Zone Notification: Landlord shall notify each tenant if the rental property has been determined to be located in a flood zone. (§§ 46:8-50 (pdf))
  • Domestic Violence Situations: (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 6-7) (pdf))
    • Early Termination Rights: Tenant who is a victim of domestic violence may terminate a lease if the tenant gives landlord written notice that the tenant or tenant’s child faces the imminent threat of serious physical harm from another named person if the tenant remains on the leased premises, in addition to any of the following documents: a certified copy of a permanent restraining order, a law enforcement agency record documenting the domestic violence, or medical documentation of the domestic violence provided by a health care provider. See statute for additional acceptable documents. Lease terminates 30 days after providing required notice and documentation to landlord, unless an earlier termination date is agreed to.
    • Proof of Status: Landlord may require that the tenant provide official written proof of status as a victim of domestic violence. Various forms of proof are acceptable – see the guide for details.
    • Security Deposit Return: Landlord has 15 days from lease termination due to a claim domestic violence to have available and return the security deposit plus the tenant’s portion of the interest or accumulated earnings. See statute for other provisions.
    • Landlord Disclosure Prohibited: Landlord shall not disclose information documenting domestic violence that has been provided to the landlord by a victim of domestic violence, nor enter the information into any shared database or provide it to any person or entity. The information may be used when required as evidence in an eviction proceeding, action for unpaid rent or damages, with the consent of the tenant, or as otherwise required by law.
  • Common Landlord’s Duties: (Truth in Renting Guide (Page 19-24) (pdf)) and New Jersey – Habitability Bulletin
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied; and
    • Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat (minimum 68 degrees) or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection. (§§ 5:10-14.4(a) (pdf))
  • Common Tenant’s Duties: (No statute)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization. Other actions are prohibited. Read §§ 2A:42-10.10 – §§ 10.14 (pdf) for more information.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Landlord Identity Registration: A landlord who owns a one- or two-family non-owner occupied house is required by law to file a registration statement with the clerk of the municipality in which the building is located. Download the Registration Form (pdf)
  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
  • 5 Year Safety Inspection: The Bureau is responsible for ensuring that hotels and multiple-family buildings of three or more dwelling units operating within the State of New Jersey are properly maintained and do not pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of their residents, nor the community in general. (Bureau of Housing Inspection)
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55 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • bm david

    Hello Lucas,

    Great info on this site but I’m a tenant who has questions regarding illegal rentals in NJ. I am legally disable, renting a room in Harrison NJ with a month to month lease. There is no inspection, certificate of occupancy or fire inspection and there are issues with rodents and roaches. City of Harrison recognizes this property as a 2 family and not certified / registered for rental. What are my rights when a homeowner consciously and knowingly rents an illegal room to a disabled person ?


    • Denise

      My daughter is living in an apt in pennsauken nj and and her landlord wants to physically come in for every curtain and picture she hangs up and watch her. She only uses command strips and curtain hooks are in the Windows already. And she calls her stupid and upsets her, and parks down the street and watches them. She works hard every day and is NOT destructive to a dwelling.

  • Russell F Mahrt Sr

    I was told that in the State of New Jersey, landlords could raise the rent to senior citizens by no more than 3%. Is that true, and if not, is there a cap.

  • Denise

    My daughter is living in an apt in pennsauken nj and and her landlord wants to physically come in for every curtain and picture she hangs up and watch her. She only uses command strips and curtain hooks are in the Windows already. And she calls her stupid and upsets her, and parks down the street and watches them. She works hard every day and is NOT destructive to a dwelling.

    • Kathy

      Denise Tell her to get out of there. Save her $ n move. I had same problem with Crazy ass landlord stalking me , always trying to come in & making unreasonable demands. She has rights and landlord is not allowed to be doing this She has right to quiet enjoyment and obviously this landlord needs to read landlord tenant laws. Also Have her contact legal services in Camden for further help it’s free

  • Nat Geller

    Hi Lucas,
    can I have an independent / out of town housing inspector inspect my rental property ? Instead of the local town’s inspector?
    …since I don’t really like the local guy ?…

  • Frank Haemmerle

    My landlord had fraudulently…covered up toxix mold in a supposed new apt…. There had been over3 sewage backups… Down here before we moved in… And my basement apt…was sealed up for 10 yrs… Comes time to renovate…he broke out the cement.. An 8’x33 foot section…. And never replaced the cement… Undermining the foundation…. Then the mold all over the apt… A good amount he buried… Mold contaminated construction waste… Under the floor which us now built on soil…. The rest of all mod was coveres over… 2 layers on walls…3 layers on ceilings…i have pictures of black mold. In every bay… Also green white… Grey.. Mold.. On plywood floors. The insurance didnt cover the entire floor nor cielings….nor the south wal

    • Anthony

      Frank you need to get out of that mold infested apartment ASAP and go on a mold detox protocol as soon as you can, take it from me, it to me 18 months to get better! Mold will make you sick, there is no doubt about it, symptoms you would never even think that are mold related. RUN out of there if you value your health

  • Frank Haemmerle

    Cont: south walls… Do he covered alltoxuc mold… Knowingly… I have all the mold sickness signs… Chronic fatigue syndrome ..Memory loss..mood swings.. Frequent urination.. Hemorging….coughing up blood….. I have Senator Brian Stack..tryingbyo help… But I nerd Environmental Drs… Lawyers. I cant get help anywhere…. Noone is taking mold seriously….please help me.. I’m willing to pay to get this fraudulent case resolved… Thanking you in advance

  • RA

    I have put a property for rent in NJ (single family home). Is it legal to put the following conditions in the lease agreement:
    a) To have it professionally cleaned at least once a month.
    b) To subscribe to monitored security service (about 30/month)


  • Kaileen Lowerre

    Our lease was up a few months ago and our landlord had put our house up for sale my question is how long legally do we have to live here? Landlords haven’t given us written notice yet however and we have people coming to look at the house every few days with a realtor.

  • Lydia

    My landlord sent me a copy of the electricity bill and states I have to pay 50% for negligence, I live in the basement work 40+ hours a week and she has a 3 floor house . Mind you utilities are included in rent . I also believe this basement apartment is illegal . What can I do ? And I don’t neglect any thing at all I leave everything goes off . Help

  • Brian

    Renting out my house in NJ but live in another state, the ice maker is broken and the fridge is being covered by warranty. The amount will only cover enough to buy a very small fridge, if the ice maker is not replaced can the tenant refuse to pay rent?

  • Lynn

    Hi Lucas. I’m a Tennant in Monmouth county NJ. My landlord has decided to sell.y lease is up this month and wants me out by 28,th. That is impossible. I am physically not able also I need to find a new place how long do I have? I’m low income housing Tennant. Ty.

  • Marcie

    We moved into a recently renovated apartment. After two days of living there it was clear that it was not adequately heated. Our kid’s bedroom was 48 degrees. We notified the landlord, they put us in a hotel for a week (without a kitchen). We had to pay parking, internet, food delivery, and were out of pocket for a lot of expenses.
    How much of the out of pocket are we entitled to? What are our rights here?
    The apartment is warmer now, but nothing has been done to the windows, which still make the apartment very drafty and difficult to control the temperature.

  • Leslie Oliver

    Is there a “law” requiring that 1 elevator be on a generator in the event of a power outage for apartments for 55 and over tenants?

  • Orly Chesney

    Is the landlord in NJ required to clean the air duct and the dryer vent? It wasn’t cleaned for years. Thank you

  • Arona R

    Is there a law in NJ that requires the landlord to provide window coverings when renting their property?

  • Alex

    Our house is going up for sale but we found a damage that yes would be our responsibility as a landlord. The tenant never told us and now the damage is so severe. Can I partially charge the tenant for repair costs. The tenant also claims she is not responsible for defacing and neglect because she never used the rooms but rented the entire house. Inside and Outside.

  • Danny Rodriguez

    I live in apartment complex and my house keys has a code. How much do I have to paid for each key if I lost it .and why? Is this a law? I can’t make a duplicate now. I have one set of keys still .the other ones( set of keys)That are the same I lost it.

  • mike

    Is my landlord responsible for providing a refrigerator or replacing the old one if it dies? Any one who knows, I’d appreciate an answer. Thank you

  • Addy

    I live in a house with 4 other women. It’s owned by a local social service organization. It’s considered permanent supportive housing. There’s no support going on here. One tenant has her boyfriend living here and he’s not on the lease. They drink and become loud and violent. He gives her black eyes. It’s very difficult living with her. This is a grant for women who have been homeless and have mental health and/or addiction issues. The lease states no drug or alcohol and no guests more than 3 nights. The lease is not being enforced and the landlord does nothing about the situation. She claims she will do something but when I complain she states that she doesn’t have to renew my lease. This couple disturbs the peaceful enjoyment.

  • Amy

    I would like to help my brother in his situation. He recently had a new landlord come in and raised his rent $500.00. He is upset about this and I thought perhaps he could end the lease early and find another place. Is he able to do this? I understand he needs to give the landlord notice asap in order to have the landlord search for a new tenant, and the landlord must do so.
    I don’t know how long of a timeframe he was given before the new rent was told to him, or even if the old landlord had sent a notice about leaving.
    Is a $500 raise legal? He was paying $1040 in rent as far as I know. He lives in Rahway, NJ.

  • Ann wysocki

    If the government closes the beach this summer Can one get their security and rental money back? Can’t decide what to do.

  • Patricia Donnelly

    My son just moved into Tower of Windsor in Cherry Hill,NJ. All utilities are included in the rent. After moving in he found the air conditioning does not work. After letting leasing office know he found out the air in all units doesn’t. The next day leasing office sent notice to all units that they will b getting a contractor out to check. This is 12th story aoartment building. How long do they have to correct? What recourse does he have. He is on disability for COPD n has other health issues. The leasing knowingly kept this from residents moving in what r his rights? Thanks

  • nancy sobieski

    Is it legal in New Jersey to have face to face interviews of prospective buyers or tenants in a cooperative apartment building?

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