New Jersey Eviction Laws

Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of New Jersey and understand their responsibilities.

Quick Facts for New Jersey

  • Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent; disorderly conduct; damage to property; lease-term violations; prior conviction/pleading guilty to (a) use, possession, production, or distribution of illegal substances or drug paraphernalia; (b) assault or terrorist threat against landlord or his/her family; or (c) harboring others convicted of/pleading guilty to such crimes
  • Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 30-Day Notice to Quit
  • Notice Required for Eviction without Cause: 30-Day Notice to Quit for monthly at-will tenants; no notice required for fixed-term tenants (but landlord must wait for end of term
  • Notice Required for Lease Violations: 30-Day Notice to Quit
  • Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: 3 days, via Notice to Quit

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in New Jersey?

Although the state of New Jersey does not provide strict guidance as to the amount of time a landlord is required to provide when notifying a tenant of his/her desire to end the rental arrangement, the eviction process remains a multi-step one. As a legal multi-step process, the time required to complete an eviction is difficult to predict.

In certain circumstances, the landlord may provide the tenant with as little as three days’ notice to vacate the premises prior to proceeding by filing a lawsuit with the court. However, in many cases the landlord must provide the tenant with both a warning to discontinue specific behavior and a
30-Day Notice to Quit
before proceeding with filing an eviction lawsuit with the court.

Ultimately, the best predictor of the amount of time the eviction process will take, in the state of New Jersey, is the tenant’s willingness to fight the process.

Reasons for Eviction

The state of New Jersey has identified a variety of reasons that may legitimately lead a landlord to seek the eviction of a tenant. These reasons include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Disorderly or disruptive behavior
  • Damage to property
  • Violation of the terms of the lease or rental agreement
  • Tenant has been convicted of or pled guilty to use, possession, production, or distribution of illegal substances or drug paraphernalia.
  • Tenant has been convicted of or pled guilty to assault or terrorist threat against the landlord or his/her family, or harboring others convicted of or pleading guilty to such crimes.

If the tenant’s behavior can be corrected, the landlord is required to provide a written warning to the tenant before he/she can proceed with the eviction process. If the behavior continues after a written warning, the landlord is required to provide a written Notice to Quit. If the tenant remains on the property beyond the time allowed in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing an eviction lawsuit with the court in the county where the property is located.

Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent

In the state of New Jersey, the landlord is not required to provide notice to a tenant who has failed to pay his/her rent on time before filing a lawsuit with the court (N.J.S.A. 2A-18-61.2). If the tenant is in the habit of paying rent late, the landlord may provide the tenant with a written Notice to Cease. If the tenant fails to pay rent in a timely fashion after receipt of a Notice to Cease, the landlord may serve the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit. It the landlord fails to vacate the property during the time allowed, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing an eviction lawsuit with the court.

Eviction if Rent has Been Paid

If the landlord has served the tenant with a Notice to Cease for the late payment of rent, the landlord may not proceed with the eviction process if the tenant pays the rent in full prior to receiving an eviction notice. If the landlord has already filed an eviction lawsuit, the tenant may stop the eviction process by paying the outstanding rent and all court costs before the judge has provided a ruling.

When a tenant is renting without the benefit of a written lease in the state of New Jersey (“at-will” rental), the landlord may seek to evict the tenant without cause. An “at-will” tenant renting month-to-month must be provided with written notice before the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease

In the state of New Jersey, a landlord is required to provide his/her tenant with a written warning regarding violations to terms of the lease or rental agreement before he/she may seek to end the agreement.  If the tenant continues to violate the terms of the lease/rental agreement, after being provided with a written warning, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written 30-Day Notice to Quit before proceeding with the eviction process (N.J.S.A. 2A: 18-53 (c) & 2A: 18-61(a). If the tenant remains on the property after the time allowed in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing an eviction lawsuit with the court.

Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior

In certain instances, the state of New Jersey does not require the landlord to provide the tenant with the opportunity to correct his/her actions. In these instances, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written 3-Day Notice to Quit before proceeding with the eviction process. The 3-Day Notice to Quit is appropriate when the tenant has:

  • Caused destruction to the rental property
  • Conducted him/herself in a disorderly way
  • Been convicted of possession, use, or production of illegal drugs
  • Assaulted or threatened the landlord (N.J.S.A. 2A 18-53(c) & 2A 18-61.2 (a).

If the tenant fails to move from the rental property within three days, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing an eviction lawsuit with the court.

How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?

When dealing with an “at-will” tenant, a New Jersey landlord is not required to have cause to end a rental agreement. A landlord may seek to evict an “at-will” tenant at the end of a fixed-term lease without providing notice. However, the landlord must wait until the fixed term has ended to proceed with the eviction process.

Read more about tenants at will here.

When dealing with a month-to-month “at-will” tenant, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a 30-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant fails to vacate the property in the time provided in the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing an eviction lawsuit with the court (N.J.S.A. 2A-18-56(b)).

When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in New Jersey?

It is illegal in the state of New Jersey for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant based on his/her race, gender, religion, nation of origin, familial status, or disability status. Also, a tenant may not be evicted for filing a complaint regarding the violation of health or safety violations with the appropriate agencies or for participating in or organizing tenant groups or unions.

Once a Notice Has Expired

The landlord may file an eviction lawsuit with the court. He/she must file a complaint with the Office of the Civil Part of the Clerk of the Court in the county where the rental property is located. The tenant will be served a copy of the complaint and given a date and time for the hearing. The tenant must appear at the hearing if he/she wishes to challenge the eviction. Both sides will be given the opportunity to provide evidence, and the judge will decide if the eviction is valid.

Once Eviction Occurs

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the landlord must wait three days before seeking to force the tenant from the property. If the tenant remains on the property three days after the eviction is issued, the landlord may have the tenant removed from the property or locked out. The landlord is not allowed to keep personal property left on the property by the tenant after an eviction, but he/she may arrange to have the property stored at the tenant’s expense.

Make sure to read the New Jersey Eviction Laws, in particular N.J.S.A §§ 2A:18-53 through 2A:18-84, before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.

Eviction Process in Other States

Other Resources for New Jersey Landlords & Tenants