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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Experience:  Attorney
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I am a landlord in NJ I have a tenant on welfare He is

Customer Question

I am a landlord in NJ I have a tenant on welfare He is violation of the lease which ends 11/30 I am not signing any new paperwork with welfare going forward to renew the arrangement He is a problem tenant and I do not want to rent to him anymore. Will I have any problems with this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Because of affordable housing issues in New Jersey, the law in your state unfortunately does not allow a landlord to refuse to renew a tenant's lease without what is called just causing - meaning a legal reason for terminating the tenancy. That means you have to be able to establish that the tenant owes rent, is disturbing other tenant's or neighbors rights to quiet enjoyment of the area, has constantly violated your rules for the premises, or committed some other lease violation AND the lease gives you a right to terminate for violations. Before a tenant can be evicted for disorderly conduct, you must've given notice to cease his behavior. Continual late payment of rent is also a grounds for refusing to renew the lease, or if you wanted to permanently remove the property from the rental market, or if the tenant committed a crime on the premises. Here is more information:

http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_lti/grnds_for_evicti_bulltin.pdf

You can evict him for violating the lease, but he first must be given three day's notice to cure the breach and then an additional month's notice before you can terminate the lease. If you refuse to renew the lease without first giving the appropriate notices, the tenant may have grounds to sue you for damages - or worse, a court order letting him back into the property.

The law does NOT apply to owner-occupied premises with two or three units, but does apply to single-family dwellings and apartment buildings or complexes with more than 3 units.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay I understand that but I am just not going to sign any of the welfare paperwork Without that the rent will not be paid for December and I can evict for nonpayment. I am refusing to enter into any further agreements with welfare. His lease will terminate on 11/30 and then continue by law as a month to month. But welfare won't be paying anymore and he won't pay himself then I can take him to court for nonpayment Does this work?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry, but all leases (all contracts, actually) have an implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing. Refusing to sign the welfare paperwork solely because you don't want him to live in your property anymore and you know he can't afford it on his own would be considered a violation of these obligations. You have to be able to cite a legal reason for evicting him, such as lease violations or destruction of the premises - but you can't set him up for failure.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok these are the violations what will have to do?
Has another subtenant living with him Lease says only person signing lease is living there.
He is continually loud and other tenants (buinesses) downstairs complain.
He and his subtenant are selling drugs from the apartment. Cops have been notified but no arrests
He has changed locks to unit but not given landlord a copy
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Selling drugs out of the property is usually going to be considered a lease violation. It's also a lease violation to have additional tenants who are not on the lease. Either of those could be a basis for giving him a notice to correct the violation or quit. If nothing changes, you can give a 30 day notice.

Changing the locks and not giving the landlord a copy isn't grounds for eviction unless the lease requires him to give you a copy. But still, he could hand you a key at any time to cure that lease violation before being evicted.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
notice was given to him in June about the other person living here. it was sent certified. can i proceed to sending notice to quit now because he is still there? Tenant have seen subtenant, I have seen him and so has my husband. trespassing complaints were filed when he was seen there by me. At end of 30days he will also owe rent because i am refusing to sign anything but a month to month with welfare so he won't get benefits and I won't get paid so I will have 2 causes to evict nonpayment and violation of lease
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, you can serve the notice now. It may help to have a local attorney draft the notices for you. The laws are very pro-tenant, so you want to be very careful to do everything by the book.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Usually how long after you send notice to cease must you wait before sending notice to quit?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The original notice is a 3 day notice, so you just have to wait until it's expired.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
To make sure I understand. If I mail notice to cease Monday I can mail out notice to quit Friday?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If the tenant doesn't correct the violations. But when notice is mailed, it also has to be posted on the door.

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