If you haven’t had a New Jersey landlord/tenant attorney review your lease agreement, you could be putting yourself at risk. A strong lease is essential in the effective management of your rental property because it gives protection and direction to both landlords and tenants. It protects your property and serves as the document that dictates everything from how to report maintenance and which party is responsible for utilities.
Make sure you using a lease that’s specific to New Jersey. We talk to a lot of landlords who simply download any lease template they find online. This isn’t a good idea. Your lease needs to be specific to the laws of this state, and it needs to be specific to your rental property.
Avoid risk by getting a lease document directly from an attorney. We would be happy to share the lease that we recommend to all of our property management clients, and then customize it to fit what you need for your own investments.
Preparing Your New Jersey Lease Agreement
If you have a strong template from which to build your lease agreement, you’ll be in excellent shape. You need to start with identifying information such as the property address, the amount of rent that’s due every month and how it should be paid, and details about the security deposit that was collected.
Your name has to be on the lease, as well as the name of your property management company and the names and contact information for your tenants. Any minor children should also be listed. With contact-free leasing being almost a necessity these days, it’s best to have an electronic document that can be signed digitally by all parties.
Collect the Move-In Funds from Your Resident
You want to make sure the tenant you’ve approved is serious about moving into the home. So, it’s not unreasonable to require that the lease be signed and the security deposit paid within 48 hours of approval. Ask for money orders or certified checks when the first month’s rent and security deposit is being paid. Or, you can collect the fees through an online payment system. It’s risky to accept a personal check. If they move in and then the check bounces, you’ll have a hard time collecting that money.
Lease Renewals in New Jersey
Most New Jersey lease agreements require a 60-day notice period, at which time you’ll either decide to renew the lease or terminate it. That depends on your plans for the property and the experience you’ve had with your tenants.
Try to make this decision 75 days before the end of the lease term. It gives you a little extra time to plan. Many lease renewals are a simple one-page offer that will include any rent changes or altered terms. When there are major changes that need to be made, you’d be better off providing a brand new lease agreement.
We can help you put together the strongest possible lease agreement for your New Jersey rental property and we can also help you negotiate at lease renewal time. For the best legal advice when it comes to landlord and tenant law in New Jersey, contact us at Robert A. Gleaner, P.C.