What Actually is the Purpose of the Anti-Eviction Act?

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If you are a tenant facing removal, your last hope may seem to come from the Anti-Eviction Act.   Certainly, there is a law that restricts the ability of a landlord to oust you from your home.  Notwithstanding, landlords may find some solace in this part of the law.  It may prove to be extremely helpful.

All things considered, it first makes sense to understand the language of the Anti-Eviction Act.  It starts at NJSA 2A:18-61.1  and continues through NJSA 2A:61-12.   First, let’s sum up the grounds for tenant removal as follows:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Tenant has been given notice to cease disturbances of peace and quiet
  • Premises have been damaged as an act of gross negligence
  • Lessee has breached a covenant of the lease agreement
  • Issues with controlled dangerous substances on the premises
  • Landlord intends to permanently board up or demolish the rental property

These are just some of the causes that building owners may seek to evict tenants; there are actually eighteen of them.   For further reasons, you should take a look at   NJSA 2A:18-61.1.  Of particular interest may be the restrictions imposed by the statute that discuss an owner’s right to evict as long as the building is three or less residential units.  In that case, there must be proof that the owner intends to occupy one of the dwellings.

As an aside, sale of a residential building of three or fewer apartments may also be a reason that calls for the removal of a tenant.

Anti-Eviction Law Works for Both Parties

The mere term “anti-eviction” suggests that it is tenant oriented. In some ways, the law provides protection from unscrupulous landlords.  For one, many have concerns regarding the consequences of paying the rent a few days late.  You won’t have to worry about coming home and finding your worldly possessions on the front lawn.  Or, in the trash containers on the side of the house.

As a quick aside, a landlord who tries to execute a so-called “self-eviction” can find themselves in trouble.  This includes locking a tenant out or turning off utilities.  In fact, it may mean appearing in court for a disorderly persons offense, which you will find further defined in NJSA 2C:1-4.

By the same token, landlords are required to provide proper notice when it comes to seeking eviction.  The only exception is when it comes to paying rent.  Obviously, tenants are keenly aware of the consequences they face for non-payment.

Anti-Eviction Act and Landlords

Understandably, removal of a tenant under the Anti-Eviction Act sounds like a big deal.  And, it actually is in many regards.   In fact, many landlords seek the services of an experienced landlord/tenant attorney for just this reason.

There are exclusions to proving one of the items that are a part of NJSA 2C:1-4.  Take for example owner-occupied buildings of less than three apartments.  Although the court must formally order the eviction, it is not necessary to come up with another reason under the statutory requirements.

Contact Us

If you are involved in an eviction process, it makes sense to seek legal counsel to get a better understanding of the law.  Contact the Law Offices of Lawrence Centanni to set up an appointment.

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