Tenant Law in New Jersey
Relationships between landlords and tenants in Morris County, New Jersey can get contentious. It's difficult to be a tenant or a landlord. If one or both parties are not aware of their legal rights and responsibilities, conflicts can arise.
Tenants and landlords have several legal rights and responsibilities. In general, these rights don't conflict with one another, as long as both parties are clear about what they are, and act accordingly.
Landlord's Rights in Morris County, NJ
Landlords are, of course, entitled to collect rent from their tenants. If a tenant fails to pay the agreed-upon rent, the landlord is typically able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Furthermore, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't liable for ordinary wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Morris County, NJ
Tenants, most basically, have a right to a habitable apartment. After all, this is what they're paying for. Morris County, New Jersey landlords are obligated to see that the units they rent to tenants are fit to be lived in by people. Many different defects might render an apartment uninhabitable, such as serious infestations and other problems with sanitation, lack of running water or electricity, or failure to provide adequate protection from the outside elements.
Tenants also have a right to ensure that the common areas of their apartment building are reasonably safe. Landlords are required to make sure that the common areas of their buildings meet Morris County, New Jersey's building codes, and that there are no conditions that create unnecessary safety hazards. They are required to make, at their own expense, the necessary repairs.
Under federal and New Jersey law, tenants are also entitled to protection against discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, marital status, or gender. Such discrimination can lead to severe civil penalties against the landlord. Landlords also cannot discriminate against tenants based on physical disability, and have to make reasonable accommodations for physically disabled tenants. For example, they have to allow disabled tenants to make minor physical alterations to the unit (at the tenant's expense) to make it more accessible. Now, they don't need to allow the tenants to have the building remodeled. We're just talking about things like installing handrails in the bathroom, and similar things. The landlord can, however, require tenants to restore the apartment to its original condition, at the tenant's expense, once the tenant leaves.
Finally, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords generally must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.
Can a Morris County, New Jersey Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants usually prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for discernible reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Morris County, New Jersey landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.