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NJ Residential Landlords & Registration: Strict Compliance Saves Time & Money

Efficient and profitable property management requires landlords to navigate the complex web of New Jersey landlord-tenant law. Often, small steps can save time and money throughout the life of leasing apartments. One such small, but important, step is commonly known as the “registration requirement.” In eviction cases, failure to comply with the registration requirement can lead to costly and time consuming delays.

Landlord property registration is governed by three statutes. Whether a statute applies turns on the nature of the building and the number of tenants. N.J.S.A. §46:8-28 requires that certain properties be registered in the municipality in which they sit. N.J.S.A. §55:13A-12(a) requires that larger buildings be registered with Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey. Finally, N.J.S.A. §2A:42-78 empowers municipalities to develop and enforce local registration requirements. The most important questions to consider are: 1) How may families are living on the premises? & 2) Is the property owner-occupied?

Generally, the content of the registration statement is straight forward. The statement should include the name and location of the owner. If the owner is corporation, statement should include the name and address of the registered agent for the corporation. It is important to note that the specifics of each statement depend on the statute applicable to the property. In cases where N.J.S.A. §55:13A-12(a) applies, the information required will be listed on the Department of Community Affairs form.

The consequences of failing to register can be costly and time consuming. In most nonpayment of rent cases, the landlord’s goal is simply to evict the tenant and replace him/her with a paying tenant. This goal is frustrated by N.J.S.A §46:8-33 which states, in part: “…no judgment for possession shall be entered until there has been compliance.” In simple terms, a landlord cannot lawfully evict a tenant until the registration requirement is satisfied. This prohibition applies even in cases where the tenant’s nonpayment is obvious.

There are other quirks in landlord registration that can delay the eviction process. Depending on the timing of a failure to register defense, the remedy available to a difficult tenant can vary. Since the facts of each circumstance differ, a landlord or tenant should consult an attorney with his/her specific circumstances. Offit Kurman practices landlord-tenant law throughout New York and New Jersey assisting landlords and tenants in avoiding unnecessary and costly delays. The firm’s geographic practice area includes: New York City (Manhattan, New York County, Brooklyn, Kings County, Queens, Queens County, Bronx County) and New Jersey (Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, Hudson County, Newark, Essex County, Woodbridge, Middlesex County). The Firm invites you to visit the “Promises” page for our new way of doing business. Contact us today for a guaranteed free initial consultation.