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 following disclosures are required for all residential lease agreements in New Jersey.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts or legal liabilities in New Jersey.
Truth in Renting Guide Disclosure
Applicable to all rental units in New Jersey.
Prospective tenants must receive the Truth in Renting guide – a guide that informs tenants of their rights – as part of every rental agreement. 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.
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.
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. Tenants who have children 10 years old or younger may request to have them installed. Window guards must be installed in a first-floor window when the bottom of the window is more than six feet above the ground. Window guards are not required if the window is a fire exit, or if the window is designed not to be opened. 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.
PROTECTIVE WINDOW GUARDS. Tenant has a right to request protective window guards be placed on windows at a cost of $___ per window.
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 in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Landlord Name & Address – to create a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord, it is recommended that New Jersey landlords provide contact information within or alongside the lease for themselves or anyone authorized to act on behalf of the property.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. New Jersey law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenants.
- Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. New Jersey does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 5% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. 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.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to the tenant’s negligence during the lease term.