Q New Jersey Landlord Tenant Court FAQs
What Types of Claims are Filed?
Following is a general list of some of the typical reasons why a Landlord may file a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section of the Special Civil Part Court:
- Failure to pay rent;
- Continued disorderly conduct;
- Willful destruction or damage to property;
- Habitual lateness in paying rent;
- Violation of rules and regulations, after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document; &
- Tenant's conviction for a drug offense.
Before filing some landlord/tenant complaints, a landlord must give a tenant written notice to stop particular conduct. Only when a tenant continues that conduct after receiving the notice to stop, can a landlord try to have the tenant evicted. Also complaints, other than non-payment of rent, generally require notice terminating the tenancy. You may wish to contact an attorney for more information.
A landlord or a tenant that is a corporation, limited liability corporation or limited partnership must be represented by a New Jersey attorney in all matters filed in the Landlord/Tenant Section. No landlord or tenant that is one of these kinds of business entities may send a representative other than a New Jersey licensed lawyer or other court permitted lawyer to court. A partner in a general partnership can represent themselves in the Landlord/Tenant section of the Special Civil Part Court.
Where Do I File a Landlord or Tenant Complaint?
A complaint must be filed with the Office of the Special Civil Part Clerk in the county where the rental premises are located.
What are the Fees for a Landlord or Tenant Complaint?
The cost for filing a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section is:
- $50 for one defendant/tenant;
- $5 for each additional defendant/tenant;
- In addition, you must pay a mileage fee for delivery of the summons and complaint by a Special Civil Part Officer. The staff of the Special Civil Part Clerk’s Office can inform you of the mileage fee. The landlord can pay by cash or check, made payable to the Treasurer, State of New Jersey.
What happens if the Landlord Obtains a Judgment for Possession?
If a landlord obtains a judgment for possession, the landlord may apply for a warrant or removal, which permits the landlord to force the tenant to move out of the rental premises.
The Special Civil Part Officer is required to provide a residential tenant at least three (3) business days to move all persons and belongings from the premises.
If the residential tenant does not move out after three (3) business days from the date that they were served with the warrant of removal, the landlord must arrange with the Special Civil Part Officer directly to have the residential tenant evicted or locked out.
Following the eviction, the landlord must allow the tenant remove personal belongings from the premises. If a tenant vacates the rental premises but fails to move their personal belongings, the landlord must still comply with the provisions of the New Jersey Tenant’s Abandoned Property statute.
A landlord must apply for the warrant of removal within 30 days from the date that the judgment for possession is entered unless the judgment is stopped or stayed through a court order or other written agreement signed by the landlord and the tenant.
A tenant may also ask the court for permission to stay in the premises due to special difficulties or hardship that moving out may cause. If permission is granted, the tenant may not stay in the premises for more than six months but all rent due, and future rent due during this “hardship stay,” ordinarily must be paid for permission to be granted by the court. The tenant may also ask for a more temporary stay through a request for an Order for Orderly Removal which is typically no longer than 7 calendar days. Finally, a tenant can file a motion to vacate the underlying judgment for possession but that does not typically stop or stay the eviction process unless otherwise ordered by the court. Any of these requests for relief made by the tenant must be done on notice to the landlord.