Landlord & Tenant Attorney NJ

Navigating the Legal Landscape: Common Pitfalls for Landlords in New Jersey

Being a landlord in New Jersey is like sailing a ship: exciting but full of unseen dangers. The real estate market can be quite profitable, but without proper legal guidance, landlords can find themselves in dangerous waters. This blog aims to shed light on some common pitfalls that landlords in New Jersey might face, and how to avoid them to ensure a smoother journey in the rental business.

  1. Ignoring Local and State Housing Laws

New Jersey has strict housing laws that landlords must adhere to, ensuring properties are safe, in good repair, and habitable. Failure to follow these rules can result in deductions in rent, other significant penalties, including fines and legal action from unhappy tenants. Landlords must understand rent control laws, eviction rules and what the Landlord is responsible to repair. Not knowing the law isn’t a good enough excuse. It’s always cheaper and easier to follow the rules from the start than to fix problems later.

  1. Carelessly Handling Security Deposits

The mishandling of security deposits is the most common pitfall for many landlords. When tenants give you a security deposit, New Jersey law has specific rules about where to keep this money, how to treat it, what happens when the tenant moves out, and what to do with interest. Carelessly handling this money will lead to penalties, including the potential requirement to pay back double the deposit amount to the tenant or pay the tenant a high interest rate on the money. It’s important to thoroughly review and understand the rules which apply to the handling of security deposits in New Jersey.

  1. Inadequate Tenant Screening: Skipping Background Checks

Skipping, or choosing not to conduct thorough background checks can lead to problematic tenants, who routinely rent payments, and been subject to costly evictions. While it might seem time-consuming, carefully conducting in-depth tenant screenings, while paying special attention to every detail (including credit, employment, and previous landlord checks), can save you a significant amount of money and trouble in the long run. Breaking it down further, pay now to save more later.

  1. Not Properly Executing or Understanding Leases

A lease is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a binding legal agreement that controls what you and your tenant agree to. Basic form leases typically do not cover specific New Jersey laws or the unique details of your property. Tailoring your lease agreements to fit New Jersey laws and clearly outlining the responsibilities and rights of both parties can prevent and protect you in the event of future disputes. There are many rights to Landlords that are waived if not included in the lease.

  1. Improperly Evicting Tenants

Evictions are a legal minefield; kicking out a tenant is complicated. New Jersey laws provide strong protections for tenants, making the eviction process complex. Landlords must follow very specific legal guidelines, which start with a valid reason for eviction and proper notice to the tenant. Attempting to kick out a tenant without legal grounds or failing to follow the specified rules can result in significant legal and financial consequences. Also, calling the cops on your tenants is not lawful.

  1. Discriminating Against Tenants

New Jersey and federal laws forbid choosing and discriminating against tenants based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Landlords must be mindful in making sure that their rental practices, from advertising to tenant screening and eviction, do not discriminate against people who want to rent their place. Accusations by tenants of discrimination can lead to costly legal battles and damage to your reputation. Put simply, do not discriminate.


Being a landlord in New Jersey can be very rewarding and profitable, but you need to understand the law in order to comply with it. Avoiding these common mistakes means taking care of your property, being fair and clear with your tenants, and understanding the relevant laws. The lawyers here at UBFK Law can help guide you through these complex waters, ensuring that your property remains both profitable and in line with New Jersey laws. Remember, your goal as a landlord is to have an income generating property with the least hassle. By being aware of and proactive about these potential pitfalls, you can build a successful and long-term rental business in New Jersey. Contact us today to understand your rights and protect your investments.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this article were created to provide general information, it is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and shall not be construed as legal advice. You should not act upon any information provided in this article without seeking professional legal counsel from an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. No representations are being made as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained in this article or on this site or sites linked hereto. If this pamphlet is inaccurate or misleading, report same to the Committee on Attorney Advertising, Hughes Justice Complex, CN 037, Trenton, NJ 08625. “No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.”
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