Residential and Commercial Leasing Lawyer
Residential and commercial leases can be simple or complex, depending upon the requirements of the Parties to the Lease. There are many times when a Lease from a form book or website may not incorporate all of the elements agreed upon by the Parties, or may not provide all of the protections sought by the Landlord.
As a Landlord, you are permitting a third party (your Tenant) to occupy and use space owned by you. The Landlord wants/needs to make sure that the entire agreement between the Parties has been reduced to a writing (the Lease) and that the written Lease properly reflects the following:
- The amount of rent to be paid
- The manner in which the rent is to be paid
- The party responsible for the maintenance of the property
- The party responsible for the payment of utilities and taxes
- The required amounts of insurance, and
- The protections afforded the Landlord in the event of a default.
Landlords should consult with an attorney prior to preparing or entering into a Lease in order to properly protect their investment property.
I had the opportunity to work with Jordan regarding my landlord tenant issues for 2 separate properties. One was very unusual and difficult. Jordan was knowledgeable, spoke in terms that were clear to understand, was accessible, easy going, tenacious in his pursuit to move the issue forward and ultimately achieved my goal of evicting both tenants. I would highly recommend Jordan and would work with him again in the future – Lisa E.
Residential Eviction: A residential Tenant may be evicted by a Landlord for any number of reasons. The simplest ground for eviction is non-payment of rent. However, a Landlord may also evict a residential Tenant, if that Tenant:
- Is disorderly (failing to follow the terms and conditions of the lease)
- Willfully or gross negligently causes damage to the premises
- Fails to pay rent after notice of a rent increase is properly served, or
- Is habitual late in making his/her rent payments.
The Landlord must ensure that he/she takes every required step for the eviction to be upheld by the court. These steps include having properly registered the rental unit with the Town, having properly served notice in connection with the Tenant’s alleged wrongdoing or such other actions as may give rise as a basis for eviction. A Landlord must also be familiar with the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Statute that protects the rights of Residential Tenants under specified circumstances.
Commercial Eviction: A commercial Tenant’s eviction may be based on, but not limited to the following grounds:
- Non-payment of rent
- Destroying the peace and quiet of the Landlord or other Tenants
- Willfully destroying/damaging the premises, or
- Violation of the landlord’s rules and regulations governing the premises.
The causes for eviction are similar to that of residential tenants, but commercial tenants do not have the added protection(s) of the Anti-Eviction Statute.
In order to evict a Tenant for a cause other than non-payment of rent, the Landlord may be required to serve one or more of the following notices: Notice to Cease (warning notice), Notice to Quit (notice that purports to terminate the tenancy), or a Demand for Possession (final notice that must give the actual date by which the tenant must move out and turn over possession).
It is important that Landlords consult with legal counsel to ensure that the proper elements are in place before filing a Landlord-Tenant action in the county in which the Property is located.
In a residential lease, the security deposit is considered a source to compensate the Landlord for physical damage to the property. In a commercial lease, the security deposit is considered a source to reimburse or compensate the Landlord for non-payment of rent, physical damage, or other breaches attributable to a Tenant.
The permitted security deposit amount differs if the property is residential or commercial. The amount of the security deposit required by a residential landlord cannot exceed one and one-half month’s rent, and must be deposited in an interest bearing account. See N.J.S.A. 46:8-19. The amount of a security deposit required by a commercial landlord is not capped and the amount will vary depending on the financial situation of the tenant.
Within thirty (30) days after the termination of the residential tenant’s lease, the landlord must return the security deposit less any charges expended in accordance with the terms of the lease. The interest or earnings and any such deductions shall be itemized and delivered to the tenant.
If the residential tenant files a lawsuit requesting the return of the security deposit, the court upon finding in the tenants favor, will award double the amount of the security deposit, full costs of any action (i.e. filing fees) and possibly reasonable attorney’s fees (if you hired an attorney). See N.J.S.A. 46:8-21.1.
Effective Legal Counsel
Our firm has been helping Landlords throughout Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County resolve disputes with tenants for decades. These disputes may involve clarification of responsibilities, evictions, and/or litigation. Landlords (and tenants) of residential and commercial properties should be aware of the New Jersey Statutes that form the relationship between Land Owners and Tenants, and how these Statutes affect the rights of the Parties to the Lease.
Landlord-tenant law is a very complex area where our firm excels. Our firm handles all aspects of landlord-tenant law and we do not shy away from difficult cases. Please contact us so we can help you.
This information is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice without consulting with a licensed attorney. This is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney. The law is subject to frequent changes and varies from one jurisdiction to another. (c) 2016