Potential Landlords: Do You Know How Long A
Tenant May Occupy Your Property?
If you have been considering becoming a residential landlord, there is important information to be aware of before taking the plunge. Most notably, what many new landlords are surprised to discover, and often times are not aware of until it is too late, is that in New Jersey, nearly every residential lease potentially can create a lifetime tenancy. What this means is that despite the common misconception, once a lease term expires, a landlord cannot simply require a tenant to vacate the property by virtue of the expiration. Absent a voluntary decision by the tenant to relocate, a landlord must have good cause to evict, such as non-payment of rent. This requirement is codified in the Eviction for Good Cause Act that states that a residential landlord may not refuse to re-new a lease or evict except for good cause. Most important, the expiration of the term of a lease alone does not constitute good cause. For example, a one-year lease will automatically convert into a month to month tenancy at the end of the term, and continue as such indefinitely, absent a lease extension, voluntary vacation, or legal eviction.
There are several other important aspects of landlord tenant law for which there are many misconceptions and require careful consideration. These include the Security Deposit Act, required statutory notices, landlord registration statements, rent increases and habitability concerns. If you are interested in becoming a residential landlord, I encourage you to contact my office directly to schedule a consultation. I would be happy to review all these concerns in detail with the goal of enabling you to make the most informed decision. New Jersey is a rather tenant-friendly state, and it pays to be aware of these issues prior to becoming a landlord.
– Jeremiah J. Atkins