New Jersey Renter’s Rights for Repairs

New Jersey Renter’s Rights for Repairs

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

In general, a landlord in New Jersey has to repair any issues at a rental property that could affect a tenant’s health or safety. The landlord must repair issues within “adequate time” of getting notice from the tenant via certified mail about the needed repairs.

New Jersey Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs

New Jersey landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:

  • Plumbing.
  • Hot water.
  • Required utilities.
  • Heating, between October 1 and May 15.
  • Air conditioning, at times and places where this impacts habitability.
  • Required smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
  • Required window and door screens, between May 1 and October 1.
  • Common areas.
  • Features that affect health, safety, or habitability.

If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.

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What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants are responsible for repairing any damage they cause to the property which affects health and safety.

Requesting Repairs in New Jersey

New Jersey tenants must request repairs by providing the landlord notice by certified mail about the issue that needs repair.

How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in New Jersey?

New Jersey landlords get an “adequate” time under the circumstances to make repairs, after getting a certified repair request.

Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in New Jersey?

New Jersey landlords cannot refuse to make repairs that are their responsibility.

Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in New Jersey?

New Jersey landlords are not required to pay for alternative accommodation while they conduct repairs. However, a situation that requires the tenant to move out for repairs may be a constructive eviction that lets the tenant end the lease and stop paying rent after moving out.

Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in New Jersey

New Jersey tenants can repair and deduct the cost from rent if repairs aren’t made within an adequate time. They can also file a suit to seek a rent abatement (reduction) or refund, get an injunction to force repairs, or in severe cases move out and claim constructive eviction.

Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants are not allowed to unilaterally withhold rent, although it is common for courts to grant tenants a partial withholding (called an abatement).

Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants can repair and deduct for substantial habitability issues. They must deliver notice of needed repairs to the landlord through certified mail, giving an “adequate” time for repairs. If the issue isn’t fixed, the tenant can then do repairs and deduct the reasonable costs from rent.

Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants can break their lease. If the landlord hasn’t fixed a habitability issue within an adequate time after getting notice through certified mail, the tenant can claim constructive eviction and immediately move out, ending the lease.

Can the Tenant Sue in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants can sue to force repairs or recover monetary damages, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs after proper notice.

Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in New Jersey?

New Jersey tenants can report landlords for code violations that affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could cancel the rental agreement, or sue to force repairs.

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Landlord Retaliation in New Jersey

It’s illegal for New Jersey landlords to retaliate with attempted eviction or substantially changed terms of tenancy, against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past 90 days:

  • Complaining to the government about failure to maintain the property, after asking the landlord for repairs.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by the law or lease.
  • Winning a retaliation claim against the landlord.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

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