Get your free New Jersey residential lease agreement and read further about required disclosures in New Jersey lease agreements, optional addendums and more.
Click here to view/download the direct PDF file.
“Should I even use a free lease agreement template?”
If you are a tenant simply looking to formalize your renting relationship, the above options will suffice. If you are a landlord, we seriously caution the use of free “one size fits all” templates due to the opportunity cost of an incorrect or incomplete lease agreement (think: premature lease breaking, fines for non-disclosures, etc.).
With that said, unless you’re renting out 100+ units, you probably don’t need to spend a few hundred dollars of an attorney’s time to get one drafted. A few different law startups have created step-by-step legal document wizards that take 5-10 minutes, and only run you ~$30 for a lease agreement (or a few bucks a month for access to all document templates you’d need).
Quick Facts for New Jersey
Max Security Deposit
1 and 1/2 month’s rent
Who Needs to Sign
Landlord, all tenants, and all co-signers or guarantors
Asbestos, Mold, Utility, Truh in Renting Act, Flood Zone Notification, Child Protection Safeguards, Lead-Based Paint
Legal Early Termination
Beyond written mutual consent, a tenant can break their lease without penalty in New Jersey if they’re starting active military duty, the unit is considered uninhabitable, or the landlord violates their privacy rights. In these cases, the landlord must make reasonable effort to re-rent the unit. A landlord may break a lease in New Jersey for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, violating the lease or rental agreement, or committing an illegal act. Before breaking a lease, the landlord must first serve the tenant written notice.
Addendums to Consider
Pets, Utility Allocation, Mold, Criminal Activity, & Marijuana Use (marijuana is legal for medical use in New Jersey)
What’s in a New Jersey Residential Lease Agreement
To start, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:
A residential lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant for the use of property for a fixed period in exchange for regular payments. By contrast, a rental agreement has no fixed period, and as a result, is usually month-to-month (read more). Residential lease agreements are governed by New Jersey landlord-tenant law.
Let’s now go through what you need to include in a residential lease agreement template in New Jersey. This includes:
- Basic/universal elements – these are applicable to ALL states, not just New Jersey.
- New Jersey-specific required disclosures – there are 6, plus 1 conditional federal disclosure.
- Applicable law – the legal stuff beyond lease agreements.
Basic Elements of Residential Lease Agreements in New Jersey
A lease introduction clearly states the full names of the tenant(s) and landlord(s), the date of the agreement and a detailed description of the rental property. It is critical to be as specific as possible when creating a lease introduction. The necessary components of a lease introduction are listed here:
- Names of the tenant and landlord: This is a small, yet crucial, piece of a residential lease agreement. The residential lease should include the full legal names of all adults living in the rental property. These names should be written or typed clearly. Shortened versions of names, abbreviations or nicknames should not be used. This ensures that involved parties are held accountable in the event of legal action.
- Date of the agreement: The date of the lease should be fully written, indicating the month, day and year. Dashes, slashes or abbreviations should be avoided to maintain clarity.
- Terms & Limits of Occupancy: This section defines the beginning and end date of the lease agreement, including provisions for any extensions. After any fixed periods, the contract can be week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, or from year-to-year. The periods at which the rent is to be paid determine the tenancy.
- Address and description of the rental property: Here, the explicit address of the property should be stated. The landlord’s address should also be stated. This portion of the lease introduction makes it clear to both parties which features of the property are included in the lease. It should list all fixed and non-fixed features that are a part of the property. This may encompass:
- Interior boundaries
- Specific rooms
- Light fixtures
- Ceiling fans
- Air conditioning units
- Yard or other outdoor space
- Parking area
- Shed/additional storage
- Exterior fixtures
- Children’s play structure
- Furnishings, such as tables, chairs, beds, patio furniture or other items
- Rent, Utilities & Security Deposits: The amount of the first month’s rent, security deposit, and the total amount of funds required need to be clearly outlined on the lease agreement. The method by which the funds are to be paid should also be included.
This is a lease (the “Lease”) […] between (Name of owner of the property) (“Landlord”) and (Name of person(s) to whom the property is leased) (“Tenant”), made this day of (Date).
TERM. The lease will be for a term of (Number of months) beginning on (Start date) and ending on (End date).
PREMISES. The premises is a (Type of dwelling i.e. house, apartment, etc.) located at (Address of rental property). The following features are included on the property (List of amenities).
RENT & UTILITIES. Tenants will pay a monthly rent of (Rent amount) on the (Day) of each month. Tenants are responsible for utilities including (List of utilities).
Indicating these features in the lease introduction provides tenants with a list of items that they have access to throughout the duration of the lease and informs tenants which features are expected to remain on-premises after the lease term is complete. It also protects the landlord’s property upon the termination of the residential lease agreement
For landlords, this information should be used for verification purposes. Make sure to ask for current photo identification, such as a driver’s license, to verify each tenant’s identity. Once that’s verified, you’ll want to do background checks on all tenants 18 or older (see our guide here).
Required Disclosures in New Jersey
Each state’s landlord-tenant laws have different requirements for what needs to be disclosed in a residential lease agreement. New Jersey is no different. Here is wha you have to include.
Reasonable precautions must be taken to minimize the chance of damage or disturbance of asbestos-containing materials. See the EPA asbestos pamphlet here.
The landlord is required to disclose any structural damage, including but not limited to water, fire, smoke, or insect damage and the condition of the roof, and mold. Click here for the EPA mold pamphlet.
Click here to view/download the direct PDF file.
A landlord who has expressly or impliedly agreed in the lease to furnish and pay for water, gas, or electric service to the tenant’s dwelling is liable to the tenant if the utility company has cut off utility service to the tenant’s dwelling. The landlord is also liable to the tenant if the utility company has given written notice to the tenant that such utility service is about to be cut off because of the landlord’s nonpayment of the utility bill.
UTILITIES. Costs for water, gas, and electric service have/have not been included in the monthly rent payment fee.
Truth in Renting Act
The landlord is required to distribute to new tenants at or prior to move-in the Department of Community Affairs’ statement of legal rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords of rental dwelling units. This disclosure does not apply to buildings of two or fewer units, and owner-occupied premises of three or fewer units.
TRUTH IN RENTING. The Truth In Renting Act deems the landlord and tenant responsible for a set of duties to maintain the rental unit in a habitable manner.
The following are Landlord duties:
- Maintain common areas
- Provide heat
The following are Tenant duties:
- Lawful activity
- Quiet enjoyment
Flood Zone Notification
The landlord must notify the tenant if the rental premises is in a flood zone or area. However, this disclosure does not apply to properties containing two or fewer dwelling units, or to owner-occupied properties of three or fewer units.
Child protection safeguards: Landlords of multi-family properties must include information in the lease about tenants’ rights to request window guards.
FLOOD ZONE. The rental unit at Address is in a confirmed flood zone. Please refer to the FEMA website for more information on emergency preparedness.
Lead-Based Paint Hazards
This isn’t New Jersey-specific, but if the unit being rented out was built before 1978, the landlord is required to do the following 3 things:
- Provide the tenant with an EPA-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint (see latest pamphlet PDFs here).
- Disclose any known information concerning lead-based paint in the unit (i.e. its location, condition, etc.), and include any records or reports about the paint or its hazards. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
- Fill out and attach this disclosure form to the lease.
Pet Addendums in Florida
The landlord must give written permission for a tenant to keep pets on the property. Pets are defined as dogs, cats, birds, fish, or other domestic animals of any kind.
The lease agreement shall specify how many animals the tenant can have and the type of animal.
Tenants are required to pay a pet deposit fee of an amount outlined in the lease, which is non-refundable. If provisions for maintaining a pet is not included in the lease, it shall be added as an addendum to the lease agreement.
The signed pet agreement applies only to the pet specified in the signed contract. The pet addendum may not be substituted or transferred to any other pet. The landlord reserves the right to terminate the pet agreement if the tenant violates the terms of their contract.
Tenants are responsible for keeping their pets under control and not leaving them unattended for an unreasonable amount of time.
Tenants are responsible for their pets and any property damage caused by the pets.
It shall be the tenant’s responsibility to control any flea infestation because of their pets and to pay for the extermination of any and all affected areas.
The landlord is not liable for any injury that occurs from an attack or interaction with an animal, whether it occurs on or off the property. If an attack from an animal occurs and there is no fencing around the property, the landlord is not held liable because of the absence of a fence.
Although they are not required, the tenant is encouraged to obtain pet liability insurance if it is offered as a rider to their renter’s insurance policy.
After the lease has ended, the pet deposit will be used for cleaning the carpets or other areas damaged as a result of having pets on the premises.
Read our guide on pet policies and our blog post about service animal documentation for more information.
Check out our sample of a pet addendum below.
This Addendum is made on [ DATE ] between [ LANDLORD’S NAME ] (Landlord) and [ TENANT’S NAME ] (Tenant), and is understood to modify the Residential Lease for [ PROPERTY ADDRESS ] originally dated [ DATE ].
The landlord grants permission to the tenant to keep the domesticated pet(s) on the premises during the term of the lease agreement (INCLUDE LEASE START AND END DATE). The landlord may revoke permission at any time if the tenant fails to comply with any of the terms and conditions in the lease or following addendums.
2. SERVICE ANIMALS
Service, Guide, Signal, or Support animals are not “Pets” according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as long as the animal is being used by the tenant to support a disability or handicap, or if the tenant is training the animal(s).
If the tenant’s pet actually a Certified Service Animal or in training to be a Certified Service Animal? : _______ Yes _______ No
3. ANIMAL PROFILE
Type of Animal(s): Dog, Cat, Bird, Rabbit, Pig, Reptile, Fish (circle all that apply)
Name of Animal(s): ________________________
Weight of Animal(s): ______________________ (lbs.)
Breed of Animals(s): ______________________
Age of Animal(s): ________________________
Spayed or Neutered?: __________ Yes _______ No
Current on Vaccinations?: _______ Yes _______ No
Valid Animal Licenses?: _________ Yes _______ No
Beyond what’s stated in a residential lease agreement, there are numerous laws that govern a rental arrangement. We’ll go through the most important ones below.
Security Deposits in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the landlord is only permitted to charge a security deposit that is equal to or less than a month and a half of rent. If the rent is increased, the landlord can ask for an increased security deposit, but it can only be an increase of 10% per year. The security deposit will need to be kept in an interest-bearing account, and the name of the bank and the account information must be provided to the tenant within 30 days of the deposit being received. If the notice is not delivered, according to N.J.S.A. 46:8-19, c. (5), the tenant will be permitted to request that the deposit as well as 7% interest be used as a rent payment.
The security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of them vacating the premises, and if there are any deductions being made, that needs to be accounted for as well. If a tenant has ended their lease because they are a victim of domestic violence, the landlord will then have 15 days to make the return, and if the tenancy has ended because of a flood, fire, of condemnation of the property, the landlord must return the deposit within five days of the vacancy. If returns are late, the landlord can no longer keep any of the security deposit to be used for repairs.
Breaking a Lease in New Jersey
When the tenant breaks the lease in the state of New Jersey, there are going to be consequences that the tenant will need to face. This can include paying the remainder of the rent that is owed for the terms of the original lease as well as paying a penalty for breaking the lease. There are some reasons that a lease can be terminated that the tenant will not be penalized for, which includes joining a uniformed branch of the active military, being harassed by the landlord, and living in a unit that violated the safety coded of the state.
Eviction Process in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, the landlord must have a legal reason to try to evict a tenant. This can be because the tenant has not paid rent, they have violated the terms of the lease, or they have committed an illegal act on the property. When the tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement, there does not need to be a reason for the 30-day Notice to Quit to be sent to the tenant. Most of these types of eviction notices are curable, which means that the tenant will be permitted to change the behavior or pay the late rent before the deadline on the notice to Quit has passed. If the issue is cured, the landlord will not proceed with the eviction process.
Other New Jersey Templates and Forms
- Rental Application
- Month-to-Month Residential Lease Agreement
- Sublease Agreement
- Room Rental Agreement
- Lease Termination Notice
- Eviction Notice
- Commercial Lease Agreement
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