- Rent Control / Increase Limitations. New Jersey state landlords can raise rent only after the lease has ended.
- Notice Required to Raise Rent. New Jersey landlords must provide 30 days’ notice from next rent due date.
- Late Rent Fees. New Jersey state landlords may not charge for late rent payment unless stated in the lease.
When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?
A New Jersey landlord may not increase rent during a fixed-term lease. However, rent may be increased at the time of renewal or rent may be increased on a month-to-month tenant at least one month before the lease ends.
Before the rent increase, the landlord must provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit and Demand for Possession and Notice of Rent Increase. This notice ends the existing tenancy and allows the tenant to enter a new tenancy with the rent increase. For the increase to be legal, the notice must be in writing and divided into two parts, (1) ending the old lease and (2) entering a new lease with higher rent.
Additionally, the security deposit can be increased when the rent is increased, but it cannot exceed 1 ½ times the monthly rent.
When is it Illegal to Raise Rent?
It is illegal to increase rent if the rent is higher than the legal rent set by the rent control ordinance and it is illegal for a landlord to raise rent in retaliation for a tenant exercising his/her tenant rights.
According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is also illegal for a New Jersey landlord to raise rent based on the age, race, religion, nation or origin, familial status, or disability status of a tenant.
Is there a Rent Increase Limit?
The state of New Jersey provides no limits on rent increases; however, the increase must be reasonable. Additionally, local municipalities may have ordinances regulating the amount rent may be increased.
If a tenant believes that the rent increase is unconscionable or unreasonable, the tenant has the right to withhold a portion of the rent. The landlord then has the option to take the tenant to court for non-payment of rent increase. (NJ Rev Stat § 2A:18-61.1(f))
A landlord can follow these five factors to help determine if rent increase is reasonable: (Fromet Properties, Inc.v Dolores Buel, 294 N.J. Super 601 (N.J. App. Div. 1996))
- The amount of the rent increase.
- The landlord’s expenses and profitability.
- How the existing and proposed rent compare to rents charged at similar rental properties in the geographic area.
- The relative bargaining position of the parties.
- Whether the rent increase would shock the conscience of a reasonable person, based on a judge’s general knowledge.
How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent?
To increase rent on a month-to-month tenant or a tenant at the end of a fixed-term lease, a landlord must provide at least a 30-Day Notice. (New Jersey Department of Community Affairs)
How Often Can Rent Be Increased?
At the state level, New Jersey does not regulate how often a landlord may increase rent. It is best to check with your local ordinance for additional rules and regulations.
Laws Regarding Late Fees
The state does not regulate the amount that landlords may charge for late fees. However, late fee charges must be disclosed in the written lease. New Jersey also offers senior citizens a five-day grace period for late payment of rent. (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-6.1)
Laws Regarding Bounced Check Fees
New Jersey does not regulate the amount that landlords may charge for bounced checks. However, these fees must be disclosed within the written lease.
Cities in the State with Rent Control
Although the state of New Jersey does not regulate rent control, there are many municipalities within the state with ordinances regarding rent.
Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Lakewood, Clifton City, Trenton, Passaic, Union City, Bayonne, East Orange, New Brunswick, and Camden all have rent control/stabilization. To view the entire list of New Jersey cities with rent control/stabilization ordinances include click here.
However, there are exemptions to rent control, including some newly constructed multiple dwelling units. (N.J.S. § 2A:42-84.2)