The New Jersey residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a written contract for the exchange of the temporary use of a residential property for regular, periodic payments (“rent”). The parties involved in the agreement are known as the landlord (“lessor”) and the tenant (“lessee”).
New Jersey Lease Agreement Disclosures
The below disclosures are required for all or some residential lease agreements in New Jersey.
|Truth In Renting Guide||All Units|
|Flood Zone||All Units in a Flood Zone|
|Window Guard/ Child Protective Window Guards||All Units|
|Disclosure Statement to Senior Citizen Housing Residents||Applicable to senior citizen housing projects and units within a senior housing project that is a planned unit development.|
|Lead-Based Paint||All Units Prior to 1978|
Truth in Renting Guide Disclosure
Applicable to all rental units in New Jersey.
A New Jersey landlord must provide a prospective tenant with the “Truth in Renting Guide.” This guide informs tenants of their rights. Landlords shall distribute a copy of the new and updated edition of the Truth in Renting Guide for every tenant within 30 days after it has been posted on the Department of Community Affairs website. Additionally, there must be a copy of the statement posted in a common area to be accessed by prospective and current tenants.
Flood Zone Notice
Applicable to any property that has been determined to be in a flood zone in New Jersey.
New Jersey landlords must provide notice if a property is in a flood zone. This notice should be given prior to tenancy and must be included in the rental agreement.
FLOOD ZONE. The rental unit at ___________________ is in a confirmed flood zone. Please refer to the FEMA website for more information on emergency preparedness.
Window Guard Disclosure/Notice of Right to Child Protective Window Guards
Applicable to all rental units in New Jersey.
To protect children from falling out of windows, landlords in New Jersey have a responsibility to provide protective window guards to tenants upon written request. Window guards are metal grilles that are installed to keep children from climbing out a window to prevent injury or death.
Below is a model lease and notice provision that is required in residential lease agreements. This notice must be in boldface type. (NJ Admin Code 27A)
The owner (landlord) is required by law to provide, install and maintain window guards in the apartment if a child or children 10 years of age or younger is, or will be, living in the apartment or is, or will be, regularly present there for a substantial period of time if the tenant gives the owner (landlord) a written request that the window guards be installed. The owner (landlord) is also required, upon the written request of the tenant, to provide, install and maintain window guards in the hallways to which persons in the tenant’s unit have access without having to go out of the building. If the building is a condominium, cooperative or mutual housing building, the owner (landlord) of the apartment is responsible for installing and maintaining window guards in the apartment and the association is responsible for installing and maintaining window guards in hallway windows. Window guards are only required to be provided in first floor windows where the window sill is more than six feet above grade or there are other hazardous conditions that make installation of window guards necessary to protect the safety of children.
A notice of the right to request window guards must be included in the rental agreement, as well as the price for installation (which may not exceed $20 for each window). Below is an example of the right to request:
PROTECTIVE WINDOW GUARDS. Tenant has a right to request protective window guards be placed on windows at a cost of $___ per window.
Disclosure Statement to Senior Citizen Housing Residents
Applicable to senior citizen housing projects and units within a senior housing project that is a planned unit development in New Jersey.
Landlords must give a Statement that sets forth the telephone numbers of the State and local officials for the municipality that receives reports of housing emergencies and complaints.
If the project is operated as a planned real estate development, the board must provide copies of the Public Offering Statement registered with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and current bylaws.
The tenant must sign a receipt for these Statements and documents. These Statements and documents must be posted at one location on the premises and the landlord must keep the signed receipt for one year.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in New Jersey to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by New Jersey law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
|Optional Disclosure||How the Disclosure is Helpful|
|Asbestos||This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.|
|Bed Bugs||If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.|
|Landlord’s Name & Address||Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.|
|Late/Returned Check Fees||Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In New Jersey there are no restrictions on late fees and a $25 limit on returned checks. Additionally, Under New Jersey law, landlords need to wait five days after the due date to charge a late fee if the tenant receives Social Security Old Age Pensions, Railroad Retirement Pensions, Social Security Disability Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or other governmental pensions.|
|Medical Marijuana Use||Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
|Mold Disclosure||Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.|
|Move-in Checklist||A move-in checklist holds the tenant accountable for future damages that they may cause.|
|Non-Refundable Fees||A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.|
|Shared Utilities Arrangements||For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.|
|Smoking||Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures
Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.
If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)
It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.