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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Attorney
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I rented an apartment to a couple. One of the couple did not

Customer Question

I rented an apartment to a couple. One of the couple did not move in and the other brought someone else in instead who is not on the lease. What can I do to have both renmoved?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hi,

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

The notice requirements for something like this are different in every state. Where is the apartment located?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
In New Jersey. My two family home.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

I'm sorry to say that, in New Jersey, a landlord may only evict a tenant for very specific reasons, and having a new tenant move in after an existing tenant moves out is unfortunately not one of them. There would have to be a specific clause in the lease prohibiting any subleasing, and there would have to be a clause allowing you to terminate the lease if they violated that, and you'd first have to give notice to remove the other individual or move out.

But even after all that, a judge would have to find that having someone new move in is a substantial violation of the lease such that it's reasonable to make them move out, and I'm afraid it's not. You leased the property to two people, and there are two people living there now. If you were to go to court on this, a judge would most likely find that your tenant is allowed to stay, as long as she's not violating any other lease provisions.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
There is a clause in the signed lease that says that the tenant can not sub lease the apartment to anyone else.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

But because she's still living there, this isn't considered the type of substantial violation that would allow you to terminate the lease. You'd have to be able to meet all of the requirements I listed above.

If you believe you can prove all of those things, then you have the ability to give her a notice to correct the lease violation or vacate. The notice must give her at least one month to solve the problem, and you cannot file for eviction if she removes the other individual. But I want you to understand that, if you go to court on this, in my opinion, there is a strong possibility the judge will rule in favor of your tenant.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The clause states that the tenant will not sublet any part of the premises or assign this agreement without the prior written consent of Landlord. There was no consent on my part. Are you telling me that this clause means nothing? Are you saying that I have to allow a stranger to live in my home without my consent? What rights do I have? The rules of the lease have not been kept. What is a lease for if not to protect both the landlord and the tenant?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

New Jersey law VERY HEAVILY favors the tenant. Very heavily. Again, to have the tenant removed, you must show ALL of the following. Your responses only address one of the factors I mentioned.T

  • There would have to be a specific clause in the lease prohibiting any subleasing. I understand that you have this, but it's not enough without more.
  • There would have to be a clause allowing you to terminate the lease if they violated the no subleasing clause. Without such a clause, the no subleasing clause is meaningless.
  • You'd first have to give notice to remove the other individual or move out before you could evict her.
  • You'd have to prove that having a different person move in is a substantial violation of the lease AND
  • That it's reasonable to make her move out.

    You said this is a two-family home, but that's not the same as if they were renting a bedroom in your house. It's a separate unit, and a tenant is allowed to use and enjoy it in any manner consistent with someone living there. Which can mean one roommate leaves and another moves in. You'd have a much stronger argument for evicting them if both people on the lease had left and allowed third parties to move in.

I'm sorry. I do not make the laws. I couldn't possibly take less pleasure from telling people things they don't want to hear. But New Jersey law does not favor you. You have an absolute right to serve that notice, and an absolute right to go to court if the third party doesn't leave. But I cannot state with any certainty that you'll win - and you could be shooting yourself in the foot if she has the other party leave, then can't pay the rent, and you wind up having to evict her for non-payment in two months.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?

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