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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Hi I live in an apartment in Plainsboro,NJ for past two

Resolved Question:


I live in an apartment in Plainsboro,NJ for past two years and want to renew my lease.
Apartment Community office came back with a rent increase of 12% to the existing rent.
Is the rent increase is governed by any NJ law or Plainsboro Muncipality law and if so what is the max. rent increase specified percentage.


Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, please do not hesitate to reply if you have additional questions or need more information.


The Plainsboro Muncipal Code does restrict rental increases for low income housing. For all others, rent increases are governed by NJ statute, which do not specifically state what the maximum rental increase is.


The LSNJ law website states in part:


Under the Anti-Eviction Act, a landlord cannot make you pay an increase in rent that is so large that it is unconscionable, meaning that it is extremely harsh or so unreasonable as to be shocking. Unconscionability is not important to tenants if the apartment, house, or mobile home is covered by a rent control ordinance adopted by the city or township. In that situation, rent control limits the amount of the rent increase. Also, if you live in subsidized housing, or receive Section 8, federal law will determine how much your rent can be increased. In all other cases, the only protection you have is that the statute states that the rent increase cannot be unconscionable. N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(f).


Whether an increase is unconscionable depends on the facts of each case. The eviction law does not state what makes an increase unconscionable. In deciding disputes between tenants and their landlords over rent increases, judges have not defined how large an increase must be in dollars or percentages to be unconscionable.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello Robert


Thanks for your reply and can you let me know waht does the plainsboro township states for the rent increase

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 years ago.

I can, but you can read the code here --it's far too lengthy to copy all. Remember that their municipal code deals only with low income/restricted housing. It states in part:


The initial rent for a restricted rental unit shall be approved by the administrative agent and shall be calculated so as not to exceed 30% of the eligible monthly income of the appropriate household size as determined under N.J.A.C. 5:80-26.4; provided, however, that the rent shall be subject to the affordability average requirement of N.J.A.C. 5:80-26.3.


Rents may be increased annually based on the Housing Consumer Price Index for the United States, as published annually by COAH. Rents may not be increased more than once a year.


A written lease is required for all restricted rental units, except for units in an assisted-living residence, and tenants are responsible for security deposits and the full amount of the rent as stated on the lease.


No additional fees or charges may be added to the approved rent (except, in the case of units in an assisted-living residence, for the customary charges for food and services) without the express written approval of the administrative agent, and application fees (including the charge for any credit check) may not exceed 5% of the monthly rental of the applicable restricted unit and shall be payable to the administrative agent to be applied to the costs of administering the controls in this chapter as applicable to the unit.


Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:80-26.13, tenant income eligibility shall be determined as follows:


Low-income rental units shall be reserved for households with a gross household income less than or equal to 50% of median income. Moderate-income rental units shall be reserved for households with a gross household income less than 80% of median income. Very-low-income units shall be reserved for households with a gross household income less than or equal to 30% of median income.


The administrative agent shall certify a household as eligible for a restricted rental unit when the household is a low-income household or a moderate-income household, as applicable to the unit, and the rent proposed for the unit does not exceed 35% (40% for age-restricted units) of the household's eligible monthly income as determined pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:80-26.16; provided, however, that this limit may be exceeded if one or more of the following circumstances exists:


The household currently pays more than 35% (40% for households eligible for age-restricted units) of its gross household income for rent and the proposed rent will reduce its housing costs;


The household has consistently paid more than 35% (40% for households eligible for age-restricted units) of its gross household income for rent and the proposed rent will reduce its housing costs;


The household is currently in substandard or overcrowded living conditions;


The household documents the existence of assets, with which the household proposes to supplement the rent payments; or


The household documents proposed third-party assistance from an outside source, such as a family member, in a form acceptable to the administrative agent and the owner of the unit.


The applicant shall file documentation sufficient to establish the existence of the circumstances in Subsection C(2)(b) above with the administrative agent, who shall counsel the household on budgeting.



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