When filing a Complaint for eviction, the proper procedure must be followed or the Court will not have jurisdiction to hear the matter. Pursuant to N.J.S.A 2A:18-61.1, the notices for a residential tenancy of two units or more (not owner occupied) must sufficiently detail the landlord’s cause of action. The language in the Notice to Quit must precisely state the specific reason for the eviction. Failure to specify the nature of the alleged breach does not satisfy the mandate of the statute. Courts will dismiss a notice if it merely states a legal conclusion and lacks particularization. Charles E. Tempio, a landlord-tenant attorney, is familiar with the precise language required and can help you avoid dismissal of the matter.
Procedures To File An Eviction Complaint
Notice to Cease
This Notice gives the tenant a second chance to cure their violation. The purpose of this notice is to provide a warning. This Notice must be written and served either personally or by certified and regular mail.
Notice to Quit
This Notice must be written and served either personally or by certified and regular mail. A notice to quit terminates the tenancy as of a certain date due to tenant's failure to comply.
N.J.S.A. 2A:18-56 provides that a tenant at will or from year-to year must be given this Notice three months prior to the expiration date of the lease; a tenant from month-month must be given this Notice one month prior to expiration of the lease. If a tenancy is for a term other than the previously provided, a Notice to Quit equal in length to one term is sufficient.
A Notice to Quit is required to effectuate a rent increase for a tenancy. The former tenancy must be terminated and the tenant offered new terms, following the same waiting period stated above, in order to effect a valid rental increase. If a tenancy expires, then a Notice to Quit given prior to the beginning of the new term, which encompasses the increased rent, is sufficient. A written lease that automatically renews must be terminated, within the prescribed time period, and given new terms for the increase to be valid.
Demand for Possession
A written Demand for Possession is required in all cases except non-payment of rent. Service by mail is not proper service under the statute. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:18-54, the Demand for Possession must be served personally, left with a member of the family over the age of 14 or posted on the door.
As filing prematurely is a basis for certain dismissal, non-compliance with the statute results in the court’s lack of jurisdiction. N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.2 specifies the time that must transpire prior to filing the eviction action.
CAUSE OF ACTION THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE A NOTICE
Failure to pay rent due and owing, etc. N.J.S.A 2A:18-61.1
The term “rent” encompasses monies other than straight monthly rent. Expenses such as NSF charges for bounced checks, filing and service costs for court and counsel fees, and late charges are common “additional rent” charges. The landlord typically incurs additional costs and expenses in response to a defaulting tenant. If these charges are distinctly classified as “additional rent” in the lease agreement, they can be pursued in the calculation of the amount due and owing to the landlord in an eviction action.
Acceptance of partial payment of rent is not a waiver of the remaining rent. A letter should be sent from the landlord informing the tenant that the acceptance of the sum of money is not a waiver of the right to collect the balance due. The landlord must also be diligent in enforcing the payment of rent. The failure to establish the precise amount due can warrant dismissal from the Court. Furthermore, a landlord cannot discriminate against the source of rental payments (subsidies) provided it is a legal source.
This DOES NOT require a notice to be sent prior to instituting suit.