Evicting a tenant in New Jersey requires landlords to use a notice to quit for either non-payment of rent, any violation of a lease or rental agreement by the tenant, or any disorderly conduct by the tenant. A separate notice to quit can be used when a landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy. If the tenant hasn’t left the property or remedied the situation that’s called for their eviction notice, the landlord may then begin the process of obtaining a Judgment for Possession from the court.
Laws – N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53 – 2A:18-84
How to Evict
- Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
- Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3: File in Court
- Step 4: Serve the Tenant
- Step 5: Attend a Trial
- Step 6: Obtain a Judgment for Possession
- Step 7: Repossess the Property
Notice to Quit: A notice to quit shall be used for the following circumstances:
- Non-payment of Rent (Immediate/30-Day Notice): New Jersey state law allows for a 5-business day grace period with rent due on the first of each month. No late fees can be assessed within 5 business days of the first of the month.1 However, while written notice is required and a requisite waiting period for other violations, nonpayment of rent is excluded from requiring a landlord to wait before proceeding to the court unless the landlord previously accepted late rent, in which case a 30-day notice must be provided.2
- Lease Violation (30-Day Notice to Quit) – A landlord must deliver written notice of the action(s) that have violated a lease. This also applies to a violation of reasonable lease changes made with one month’s notice prior to their implementation.3
- Disorderly Conduct (3-Day Notice to Quit) – If a tenant is guilty of disorderly conduct, causing injury to the property or endangering others on or near the property, they will have 3 days’ notice.4
- Month to Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) – Both the tenant and landlord are required to provide 30 days’ notice to the other party when they intend to end an at-will month-to-month tenancy.5
- Illegal Activity (3-Day Notice to Quit) – Tenants who engage in illegal activity on or about the premises can be given a three (3) day notice to quit. New Jersey defines “illegal activity” in several ways; the most common include the use or possession of controlled substances (e.g. drugs), theft, assault against others, prostitution, and human trafficking.6
Although not required for non-payment of rent, waiting to hear from the tenant can provide a chance to avoid a costly eviction altogether.
- Filing Fee: $507
- Average Process Time: 2-3 weeks8
- Where to File: Superior Court Special Civil Part Offices
Forms to File:
- Verified Complaint: After proper notice has been given to a tenant, the landlord may pursue a formal eviction by filing a verified complaint with the court. If the complaint is for reasons other than non-payment of rent, additional notices must be attached to the form to explain the landlord’s justification for the eviction.
- Summons: This document must be filed along with the complaint and served upon the tenant once a hearing date has been set. Its purpose is to inform the tenant of the action against them and give them the opportunity to present their side of the case.
The court will oversee service of summons and complaint to the tenant either by mailing a copy to the tenant, having an officer of the court delivering it to the tenant personally, leaving the summons at the residence with a person over the age of 14, or posting it on the door of the premises.9
The court expects the landlord to come prepared to prove that the claims made against the tenant are true. The plaintiff (landlord) is allowed to bring witnesses into the court to present their case, however, any witnesses must be present and written testimonies are not accepted.10 As such, a landlord should bring any documentation relevant to their case, including the lease, any bills, rent receipts, or ledges, estimates for any relevant repairs, any photographic evidence, and even bounced checks.
In the event that the court rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue a Judgment for Possession, which the landlord will then bring proof of to the clerk, who will issue a warrant for removal after 3 days. The landlord cannot wait more than 30 days after the judgment is issued to file for the warrant for removal.11
If the tenant does not vacate within 3 business days of the warrant for removal being served, the landlord must then arrange for a Special Civil Part Officer to either forcibly remove the tenant or for the Special Civil Part Officer to lock them out.12
Prior to that, when the tenant is first served their warrant for removal, they will be given the option to leave the property within those 3 business days, be forcibly removed by the officer, or petition for a stay, which can delay the eviction for a week to a year depending on the tenant’s reason for asking for the stay.13
Video: Evictions in New Jersey
- § 2A:42-6.1
- § 2A:18-61.2
- § 2A:18-61.2 e
- § 2A:18-61.2 a
- § 2A:18-56
- § 2A:18-61.1