If you're new to renting homes in New Jersey, one thing you'll discover is you'll always experience at least a few tenants who can't (or won't) pay their rent. No matter what the tenant's circumstances for not paying, you have rights as a renter to evict them for not paying based on a prior agreement. We recommend using an online rent collection service that offers your renters the ability to pay either by eCheck or Credit Card. Giving renters options can often help avoid an eviction. For instance, if your renter is low on cash at the beginning of the month – instead of them waiting until they are paid on the 7th, you can tell them to pay by credit card through the portal. If you wait until they are paid by their employer again, this turns into a vicious cycle of late rent payments every single month. Yes, you can charge the a “late fee” to increase your profit by a measly $25.00 – but wouldn’t you rather have peace of mind as a landlord that their rent payment is paid on-time and in-full every month?
Regardless of how you decide to collect the rent, you should always work out a lease agreement with every renter beforehand. But, if you do find yourself in a situation where the tenant can’t pay the rent with cash or by credit card – you do have options. One option, of course, is moving forward with an eviction. The Garden State has a few differences that you should know about.
Can You File an Eviction Lawsuit for No-Pay or Late Rent?
In New Jersey, it's possible to file an eviction lawsuit immediately without notice if the tenant doesn't pay all of their rent on time. This differs from some states where you send 30 or 60-day notices first. This is in stark contrast to the State of Georgia. Basically, as a landlord in New Jersey – you can act immediately when the tenant doesn’t pay the rent on-time.
However, it's not that New Jersey doesn't have similar eviction notice laws. Much of this depends on whether you've already accepted late rent payments from the tenant. Perhaps you have, and this means you'll need to send the tenant a 30-day cease notice. Should they not pay their rent in full within those 30 days, then you can proceed with the eviction lawsuit.
What Should You Include in Your 30-Day Notice?
Be sure to include tenant names, address, and when you sent the notice in the notice's form. You also need to explicitly state you'll go forward with eviction proceedings if rent isn't paid up front. Again, in New Jersey, you must ensure that the eviction notice explicitly states that you will proceed with an eviction if the rent isn’t paid upfront. Also, you should be aware that anyone in the household over the age of 14 can accept the notice in New Jersey. This different slightly from state-to-state – whether it be 16 or 18 years old.
Filing Your Eviction Lawsuit
You'll need to include a copy of your notice when filing your lawsuit through New Jersey's Office of the Special Civil Part Clerk.
Keep in mind if the tenant pays the rent in full before the 30-day mark, you can't proceed with the eviction process. Otherwise, the court's judge calls for a hearing between you and the tenant. The judge listens to both sides to determine whether the eviction should go forward. If so, they'll issue a judgment for possession.
As always, don’t ever change the locks on the rental unit, turn off the electric, or other tactics – this is illegal and forfeits your right to evict the tenant! Keep reading us at VerticalRent as we explore more eviction procedures throughout America.
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