It is very important for all parties to know and understand their responsibilities. Here are just a few responsibilities that landlords should be aware of.
Housing and Property Maintenance Codes
There are various housing and property maintenance codes in New Jersey that require landlords to follow certain rules about locks, window screens, ventilation, pests, plumbing, painting, garbage, living space, and so on. Check your municipality’s Property Maintenance Code for specific information.
Landlord Registration Law
New Jersey’s Landlord Identity Law requires landlords who rent houses, apartments, or buildings to register certain information with the clerk of the municipality where the rental is located. Among other things, the law requires that the landlord list her/his name and address and the telephone number of someone (such as the superintendent, janitor, or other person) who can be reached at any time and who is responsible for ordering emergency repairs and receiving complaints from tenants. The landlord must also display this information at the rental where the tenants can see it. The law further requires the landlord to give this information in writing to each tenant.
Respecting Tenant Right to Privacy
Tenants usually get exclusive possession of the premises when they sign a lease and rent an apartment. Only the tenants and their guests have the right to be there.
Unless otherwise stated, the landlord or the landlord’s workers can only enter the rental in a few special situations:
- The tenants ask the landlord to enter.
- The lease gives the landlord the right to inspect the rental. The inspection must be at reasonable intervals, at a reasonable time, and with reasonable advance notice.
- The landlord or workers need to do maintenance or make repairs. If the repairs are not an emergency, reasonable notice must still be given.
- Emergency repairs are necessary. No notice may be required for serious situations (fire, water main break).
Entry under any other conditions may constitute trespassing or harassment.
Maintenance of Living Conditions
The landlord is responsible for keeping the rental in safe and decent condition and for complying with city, state, and federal housing and health codes. Landlords are liable for damages if tenants are hurt because of failure to fix dangerous conditions in the rental.
If the lease requires the landlord to provide the heat, the landlord must provide sufficient heat to meet the requirements of state law and local code. Otherwise, the tenants are required to provide their own heat, although the landlord is still responsible for providing heating equipment that works and is able to meet the state and local standards.
The landlord is responsible for seeing that all tenants respect the rights of others in the building. If a tenant is disturbing other tenants, it is the landlord’s responsibility to resolve the situation with that tenant. However, tenants need to notify the landlord about the situation.