Written Residential Lease
In order to protect your interests as a landlord, it is highly recommended that you have a written lease with each tenant you rent to. While the lease can be a simple one-page document, or numerous pages, there is certain information and language that each lease needs in order to protect your interests.
-Address of the premises, including apartment number
-Who else is allowed to reside in the premises besides the named tenant (spouse, child, etc.)
- Amount of the Security Deposit. Under the New Jersey Security Deposit Act, no landlord can collect from a residential tenant more than 1 ½ times the monthly rent for a security deposit. Also, under the Security Deposit Act the landlord must place the security deposit in an interest bearing account and must inform the tenant within 30 days of collecting the security deposit the name and address of the bank where the money is held. If the landlord violates any of these terms, the tenant is entitled to receive the amount of the security deposit back and the landlord cannot request that the tenant remit any security deposit in the future.
-Late Fees, bounced check fees and legal fees. It is very important to state with specificity in the Lease that late fees, bounced check fees and legal fees are “additional rent” so the Court will allow you to collect these additional fees. If you do not specifically use the language “additional rent”, you will not be able to collect any of these fees.
-Landlord’s rules and regulations. In another article I will discuss the ways in which a tenant can be evicted, and one of the ways is if the tenant violates the landlord’s rules and regulations. That said, it is very important to have an inclusive list of what is not acceptable in your property (ex. No smoking, no pets, allowable parking areas, etc.).
- Lease Term- In New Jersey, a tenant is a tenant for life unless you are able to evict them under N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1. If the Lease has a term of one year, the Tenant is not required to move out at the end of the term, or even sign a new lease. The tenant shall remain a month-to-month tenant under the same terms as the expired lease until they sign a new lease, move out on their own, or you are able to evict them.
The Law Office of Charles E. Tempio, LLC has experience preparing both residential and commercial leases. Contact our office today so your lease has everything it needs to ensure your rights are protected.