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How to Evict a Tenant

An eviction is an expulsion of a tenant from a property that is done only with just cause.  Landlords have to follow a specific set of guidelines when evicting a tenant to decrease the likelihood that an error will be made that can lead to longer tenant occupancies without payment. 

Late payment and non-payments commonly precede an eviction. Other reasons for eviction include. (The sequence of events and laws regarding evictions are similar in most municipalities but can differ - this content will focus on NJ eviction law.)

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Evicting Tenants General Guide

Step 1: Determine if the landlord is required to serve a notice to quit.

 

Landlords are required to serve a notice to cease for lease violations, disorderly conduct, etc. prior to serving a notice to quit, which is the official letter stating that tenant must vacate the property by a certain date. 

 

The notice to quit must be directly given to the tenant, sent via certified mail or left at the property with someone older than 14 years of age.  The NJ timelines for 30-day Notice to Vacate can be found here, along with the situations that warrant delivery of 3-day and 30-day Notice to tenant to move out.

 

Landlords do not have to serve a notice to cease or a notice to quit to a tenant for non-payment of rent as long as the landlord does not habitually accept late rent.

 

Step 2: File a Complaint with the Office of the Clerk of Special Civil Part (in the local county office)

 

At this point, a landlord will compile a court complaint (the reasons for evictions), a summons will be delivered to the tenants at least 10 days prior to the court date.

 

Step 3: Appear in Court for a decision regarding eviction.

 

If an eviction is the ruling, then a law enforcement officer will ensure that the tenant vacates the premises. Illegal evictions can cost landlords a significant sum of money.

 

Step 4: How to Deal with Vacant Property after an Eviction

           

At this point, a landlord is able to make a decision about the future of this investment.  There are three options here:

 

Option A - Rehab the property and find a new tenant: Landlords are encouraged to get a good estimate on rehab costs and complete the required work in order to get the rental operational again.  This may be costly upfront but can result in long term cash flow.

 

Option B – Rehab the property and sell the property:  Usually, this can be accomplished over a period of a few weeks to months, especially since the average days on market in NJ is almost 3 months, which is obviously extended for investment properties due to the smaller pool of buyers.  Selling this way can often provide the greatest return financially at the expense of time and some sanity.

 

Option C – Quick Sale and Move On: Landlords are able to sell their home quickly by simply filling out the form below.  Landlords choose this option if they want to quickly move onto the next investment or just simply move on from a property quickly, seamlessly and hassle-free.

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How to Evict a Tenant

 

An eviction is an expulsion of a tenant from a property that is done only with just cause.  Landlords have to follow a specific set of guidelines when evicting a tenant to decrease the likelihood that an error will be made that can lead to longer tenant occupancies without payment. 

 

Late payment and non-payments commonly precede an eviction. Other reasons for eviction include. (The sequence of events and laws regarding evictions are similar in most municipalities but can differ - this content will focus on NJ eviction law.)

 

 

  • Disorderly Conduct: Tenant must be given a Notice to Cease as a warning first.  Tenant must also be given Notice to Quit three days prior to filing a suit for eviction.

  • Damage to the Property: Tenant must be given the Notice to Quit three days prior to filing a suit for eviction.

  • Substantial Violation of Landlord’s Rules: Again, a tenant must be given Notice to Cease for the first warning before an eviction can begin. Tenant must be given the Notice to Quit three days prior to filing a suit for eviction.

  • Consistent Violations of Lease

 

 

Landlords are required to go thru the court system to complete an eviction.  Landlords are forbidden from performing a self-help eviction, which refers to the landlord “changing the locks” without warning the tenant.  While this option may sound appealing in some situations, this is illegal.  If you’re in this situation and just want to do a quick sale and be done with tenants then you can see if you qualify by filling out the form below.

 

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Cash for Keys

Prior to filing an eviction, landlords should attempt to come to cash for keys agreement with the tenants. 

 

A cash for keys agreement results in tenant vacation of the property in a specified amount of time and in return the landlord will pay the tenant a sum of money – usually this amounts is somewhere in the $250 -$1000 range depending on a few terms that are negotiated in the agreement (timeline, condition of the house, tenant property left behind, etc.)

 

To pay a non-paying tenant may be a tough pill to swallow, but pride costs money in this situation.  It can be much more cost-effective to have the tenant leave on good (read: not awful) terms with regards to turnover costs as well as litigation fees. Cash for keys is a great way to get a tenant issue resolved quickly in order to facilitate either the next tenant occupancy or to help sell the property while it is vacant.