New Jersey Eviction Process

New Jersey Eviction Process

Last Updated: September 8, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

Steps of the eviction process in New Jersey:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
  4. Warrant for removal is issued.
  5. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

Evicting a tenant in New Jersey can take around three weeks to three months, depending on the reason for the eviction. If tenants request a continuance or jury trial, the process can take longer.

Questions? To chat with a New Jersey eviction attorney, click here

Grounds for an Eviction in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms, illegal activity and more. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent No Notice Maybe
History of Delinquent Rent 1 Month Maybe
No Lease/End of Lease 1 Month No
Lease Violation 1 Month Maybe
Discontinuance of Use 18 Months No
Personal Use/Sale 2 Months No
Condominium Conversion 3 Years No
Termination of Employment 3 Days No
Failure to Pay Rent Increase 1 Month No
Illegal Activity 3 Days Maybe

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In New Jersey, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. No prior notice is required and the landlord may immediately proceed with an eviction lawsuit.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in New Jersey the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). However, there is a 5-day legal grace period in New Jersey (the grace period does not include weekends or state and federal holidays).

If the tenant does not pay rent within the grace period, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit immediately.

Eviction for History of Delinquent Rent

In New Jersey, if a landlord has allowed the tenant to pay rent late in the past and the tenant has a history of being delinquent on rent (i.e., more than one late rent payment after a notice for a demand of rent), a landlord must provide a Notice to Cease. The notice warns the tenant to correct the issue, stop the behavior, and that continual habitual late payment of rent may lead to an eviction lawsuit.

There is little statutory guidance on how much time a landlord must provide during the Notice to Cease period before providing them with a notice to vacate the premises; however, 1 month’s notice is generally a sufficient time period. If a tenant does not make the rent payment within the Notice to Cease period, the landlord must give 1 month’s notice to vacate the premises.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in New Jersey the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). However, there is a 5-day legal grace period in New Jersey (the grace period does not include weekends or state and federal holidays).

If the tenant remains on the property and rent is left unpaid, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In New Jersey, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (1 month’s notice for tenants that pay month-to-month).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In New Jersey, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under New Jersey landlord-tenant law. Before New Jersey landlords can give tenants an eviction notice, they must first give them a Notice to Cease, telling the tenant to correct the violation and stop the behavior.

The Notice to Cease is a requirement that must be completed before the landlord files an eviction lawsuit. There is little statutory guidance on how much time a landlord must provide to the tenant before providing them with a notice to vacate the premises. However, it is recommended to provide a “reasonable” amount of time before proceeding with an eviction notice. The court has ruled that 5 days was too short of a period for a tenant to find new housing and therefore not a “reasonable” amount of time. A “reasonable” amount of time can be considered a few weeks to 30 days (or more) which will allow the tenant enough time to find alternative housing.

If the lease violation is not corrected, the landlord must give a 1 month’s notice to vacate without the option to remain on the property.

Tenant responsibilities include:

  • Keeping the unit in a safe and habitable condition.
  • Keeping fixtures clean and sanitary.
  • Making small repairs or maintenance.
  • Not disturbing other tenants or neighbors.

Examples of lease violations include:

  • Having an unauthorized pet or guest.
  • Parking in an unauthorized area.
  • Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.
  • Refusing to accept reasonable lease changes for a new lease term.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may continue with the eviction process.

Eviction for Discontinuance of Use of Rental Property

In New Jersey, a landlord can evict a tenant if they no longer wish to rent out the rental unit and will permanently remove it from the rental market. To do so, they must give tenants 18 months’ notice to vacate without the option to stay.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Personal Use or Sale of Rental Property

In New Jersey, landlords can evict tenants if they want to sell the rental property or if the current owner wants to live in the rental property instead of renting it. To do so, they must give tenants 2 months’ notice to vacate without the option to stay.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Condominium Conversion

In New Jersey, a tenant can be evicted if the owner wishes to convert the rental property into condominiums or some other form of cooperative ownership. To do so, landlords are required to provide their tenants with 3 years’ notice to vacate without the option to stay.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Termination of Employment

For tenants who received a rental unit as part of their employment, but their employment is now terminated, the landlord must provide them with 3 days notice to vacate without the chance to correct the issue.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent Increase

In New Jersey, a tenant can be evicted if they fail to pay a rent increase. To do so, landlords are required to provide a 1 month’s notice to vacate the premises without the chance to correct the issue. The rent increase must not be unconscionable and must comply with all lows or municipal ordinances.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Illegal Activity

In New Jersey, a landlord can evict a tenant for a common nuisance or an illegal activity. Some violations allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal and other nuisances or illegal activity do not allow the tenant to fix the issue (“incurable”) and must vacate.

Curable Illegal Activity

If the tenant’s conduct is considered “disorderly” to the point that other tenants’ peaceable enjoyment of the rental property is ruined, the landlord must first give a Notice to Cease to correct the nuisance and stop the behavior.

The Notice to Cease is a notice requirement that must be completed before the landlord files an eviction lawsuit. There is little statutory guidance on how much time a landlord must provide to the tenant before providing them with a notice to vacate the premises. However, it is recommended to provide a “reasonable” amount of time before proceeding with an eviction notice.

If the common nuisance is not corrected, the landlord must provide tenants with a 3 days’ notice to vacate the premises.

Incurable Illegal Activity

For illegal activities that could cause “irremediable” harm to other tenants or the rental property, landlords are not required to give tenants time to correct the issue and may instead give tenants a 3 days’ notice to vacate without the chance to fix the issue.

Examples of incurable illegal activity:

  • Destroying the rental unit.
  • Using, possessing, manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia.
  • Threatening to assault the landlord.
  • Committing theft.
  • Human trafficking and prostitution on the premises.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed and file an eviction lawsuit.

warning

Illegal Evictions in New Jersey

In New Jersey, any of the below is illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant damages sustained, plus injunctive and other remedies that will be determined by the court.

“Self-Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining about health or safety issues to the landlord or any authority tasked to enforce the law.
  • Filing a complaint to a government authority.
  • Joining a tenant’s union or organization.

Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in New Jersey by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:

  • Giving it to the tenant in person.
  • Leaving a copy of the notice with an adult at the rental unit/tenant’s place of residence.
  • Mailing the notice to the tenant via first-class, certified, or registered mail.
  • Posting a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place at the rental unit and mailing a copy via first-class, certified, or registered mail.
  • Using court-approved process server to deliver the notice to the tenant.

It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice. 

Notice to Cease

In New Jersey, if a tenant is being disorderly, commits a lease violation or habitually fails to pay rent, the landlord must provide a Notice to Cease to the tenant describing the issue. New Jersey law does not specify a specific amount of time that a tenant must fix the issue before filing an eviction action; however, that notice period must be a “reasonable” amount of time. The tenant will have a “reasonable” amount of time to fix the issue or the landlord will proceed with an eviction notice to vacate the premises.

1 Month Notice to Quit (Nonpayment of Rent with a History of Delinquency)

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in New Jersey, no notice is required unless the tenant has a history of being delinquent on payments in the past and the landlord can first serve them a Notice to Cease. If the tenant’s rent remains unpaid 30 days after the 1 Month Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 1 month (including weekends and legal holidays) to vacate the premises without the chance to fix the issue.

1 Month Notice to Quit (No Lease/End of Lease)

For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in New Jersey, the landlord must serve them a 1 Month Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 1 month to move out.

For tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month 1 Month
Year-to-Year 90 Days

1 Month Notice to Quit (Failure to Pay Rent Increase)

In New Jersey, if a tenant does not pay the rent increase amount, the landlord must serve them a 1 Month Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 1 month to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

1 Months’ Notice to Cure or Vacate (Lease Violation)

In New Jersey, if a tenant commits a violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities as a tenant, the landlord can serve them a Notice to Cease. If the tenant does not fix the issue, the landlord can serve them a 1 Month Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 1 month to move out.

18-Month Notice to Quit

In New Jersey, if a landlord no longer wants to rent out the rental unit and is going to permanently remove the property from the rental market, the landlord can serve them an 18 Month Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 18 months to move out without an option to fix the issue.

2 Month Notice to Quit

In New Jersey, if a landlord wants to sell the rental property to a buyer who intends to live in the rental unit, the landlord can serve them a 2 Month Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 2 months to move out without the option to fix the issue.

3-Year Notice to Quit

In New Jersey, if a landlord wants to convert the rental property into a condominium or some form of a cooperative ownership, the landlord can serve them a 3 Year Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 3 years to move out without the option to fix the issue.

3-Day Notice to Quit (Termination of Employment)

In New Jersey, if the tenant received a rental unit as part of their employment, but the employment is terminated, the landlord must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

3-Day Notice to Quit (Illegal Activity)

In New Jersey, if the tenant commits an illegal activity and the conduct is considered “disorderly” the landlord can serve them a Notice to Cease to correct the issue. If the tenant does not fix the issue, or the illegal activity causes “irremediable” harm, the landlord must provide tenants with a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 3 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

Questions? To chat with a New Jersey eviction attorney, click here

Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

As the next step in the eviction process, New Jersey landlords must file a complaint in ta special civil part of the Superior Court. The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by a Special Civil Part Officer prior to the hearing through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
  2. Leaving a copy with someone residing with the tenant who is over the age of 14;
  3. Posting a copy at the rental unit; or
  4. Mailing a copy via regular AND certified mail (only if all other service methods fail).

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com A few days to a few weeks, depending on the service method.

Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 3: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment

The eviction hearing will be held 10-30 days after the date the summons is issued by the court.

If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move out. If the landlord fails to appear, the case will be dismissed.

NOTES

Nonpayment of Rent. Tenants can pay the full amount of rent owed within three business days of the date the judgment is issued in favor of the landlord in order to avoid eviction.

Even if the judicial officer rules in the landlord’s favor, as long as tenants pay all past-due rent in full, landlords are required to accept the payment and stop the eviction process.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, either through a default judgment or at an eviction hearing, a warrant for removal will be issued and the eviction process will continue.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com10-30 days. The eviction hearing must be held at least 10 days, but no more than 30 days, after the date the summons was issued by the court.

Eviction Warrant for Removal on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 4: Warrant for Removal Is Issued

The warrant for removal is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before Special Civil Part Officers return to the property to forcibly remove the tenant. The landlord must obtain a judgement for possession from the court before an officer can evict a tenant.

If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a warrant for removal. The warrant will be issued 3 business days after the ruling in favor of the landlord.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com3 business days after the ruling in favor of the landlord is issued.

Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned

In New Jersey, evictions may be scheduled as soon as 3 business days after the warrant for removal is issued.

However, tenants can request an order for “orderly removal,” which would automatically give the tenant 7 days to move out if granted by the judicial officer, or they may request a “hardship to stay” for up to 6 months, . The tenant may only apply if all late payments are made to the landlord.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comApproximately 3 days. The tenant has three business days to move out of the rental unit once the warrant for removal has been issued. If the court grants a stay of execution or an “orderly removal,” this will add more time to the process.

New Jersey Eviction Process Timeline

In New Jersey, an eviction can be completed in 3 weeks to 3 years but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the New Jersey eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period 3 Calendar Days – 3 Years
Court Issuing/Serving Summons 3-21 Business Days
Court Ruling 10-30 Business Days
Court Serving Warrant for Removal 3 Business Days
Final Notice Period ~3 Business Days
Questions? To chat with a New Jersey eviction attorney, click here

Flowchart of New Jersey Eviction Process

New Jersey Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

For additional questions about the eviction process in New Jersey, please refer to the official legislation, New Jersey Revised Statutes §46:8-8, §§2A:18-56 to 2A:18-61.2, and §§2A:42-6.1 to 2A:42-10.1, for more information.

Sources