For landlords, there is nothing more important than protecting their investment, meeting the needs of their tenants and, of course, collecting monthly rent checks. Similarly, for tenants, there is nothing more important than feeling secure in their building, knowing their unit is in good working order and, of course, paying their monthly rent to secure their living arrangements.
While the ability of each of these entities to satisfy one another's needs and wants is relatively simple, the reality is that disputes between these two entities erupt all the time and frequently culminate in threats — or the active pursuit — of eviction.
It's important for landlords and tenants here in New Jersey to understand, however, that while eviction (i.e., the removal of the tenant from the premises) is certainly possible, it's not something that can be accomplished without obeying the letter of the law.
Eviction: The basics
If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, the state's Anti-Eviction Act dictates that they must have good cause for doing so. Indeed, with the exception of nonpayment of rent, the landlord must furnish any tenant they wish to evict for good cause with a “Notice to Quit,” meaning written notice indicating that the tenancy is ending, why this course of action is being undertaken, and that the tenant will be required to vacate.
Once the landlord has provided the Notice to Quit, it doesn't mean that they have the green light to evict. To the contrary, they must next file a suit for an eviction, proving to the courts that they have grounds/good cause for this action.
It's only if the landlord is granted what is known as a Judgment for Possession by the court that the tenancy is considered terminated and the eviction process can be initiated in earnest.
We'll continue this discussion in future posts, examining some of the grounds for a good cause eviction under the Anti-Eviction Act.
In the meantime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions about the eviction process or have another landlord/tenant-related matter to discuss.