Rent Increase in NJ - Is Notice to Quit required?

13 Replies

I tried searching for an answer and couldn't find anything on point.  This will be my first time increasing rent.  I found something from the NJDCA that says a rent increase must start with service of a Notice to Quit in order to end the current tenancy.  http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publica...

But that is the only place I saw that requirement.  Others say that a letter spelling out the date, increase, options for the tenant to accept and get a new lease vs. vacating, etc. is sufficient.

1.  Is a Notice to Quit required?

2. Does it have to be personally served and signed for or is certified mail acceptable?

Totally depends on what your lease now says. Is it month to month, is the actual lease ending? Does the lease itself allow for increases, if you have one?

Jessica Zolotorofe

    Requiring a Notice to Quit does not make sense, it would only upset your tenants that you want to keep.  I would not issue one.   One of my general rules  for my life is 1) treat people fairly, and 2) always have a reasonable rationale for your business actions that you could explain to a judge -- letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.  I cannot imagine a tenant being successful in court over a rent raise because you did not issue the "correct" notice, when you have been otherwise fair in your process.

    I only do month to month rental agreements.  To raise rents, I send out a "Notice of Change in Terms of Tenancy" giving notice of the rent raise.  My state only requires a 15 day notice, but I give a 60 day notice (more fair, IMO).  The notice states the increase in rent amount and that the new rental amount will be $XXX starting on March 1, 2018.  (for example)  If you use term leases, send the notice of the new rent amount 60 days prior to the end of the lease (or whatever your state law mandates), so your tenant has time to evaluate their options.   Then follow up 30 days prior to lease expiration asking the tenant if they plan on renewing their lease or moving out.  If they plan on staying, then set the time for a new lease signing.

    I raise rents annually, on the anniversary of their move-in, even though I only do month to month.  Part of my Landlord Speech at rental agreement signing informs them that I will be raising their rents every year, but that we will do everything we can to keep rent raises reasonable.  Rents are rising in my market.

    In my experience, tenants do not move over 3-5% rent raises.  They shop around, realize they are still getting a good deal, want to avoid needing to come up with another deposit and the hassle of moving.

    Updated 3 months ago

    I clicked on your link. I would use the notice provided, because it is all one form, explains the rent increase, and would not freak out the tenant. It looks very similar to the notice I use, except for the title and the first sentence.

    Google has plenty of information regarding rent increases in New Jersey. It should be included in your state landlord tenant regulations. You should have a copy of your regulations with you at all times and you should know  your state regulations before you have your first tenant.

    Originally posted by @Ken Winter :

    I tried searching for an answer and couldn't find anything on point.  This will be my first time increasing rent.  I found something from the NJDCA that says a rent increase must start with service of a Notice to Quit in order to end the current tenancy.  http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publica...

    But that is the only place I saw that requirement.  Others say that a letter spelling out the date, increase, options for the tenant to accept and get a new lease vs. vacating, etc. is sufficient.

    1.  Is a Notice to Quit required?

    2. Does it have to be personally served and signed for or is certified mail acceptable?

     After reviewing the link, it looks like what the state of nj is calling a "notice to quit" is the same idea as others are saying. you should send them a notice alerting them that rent is going up to $XXX on  XX date. The link you provided had a sample, which you should be able to utilize.

    The Notice to Quit is a notice that the lease is being terminated.  I understand that this can be frightening to a tenant, which is why I posed the question looking for answers from more seasoned NJ landlords.  The terms of the lease allow rent increases with 90 days notice by landlord and 60 days notice for tenant to accept.  But the standard terms of the lease also stipulate that if neither party ends the lease at the end of the original or renewal term, then it automatically converts to a month-to-month.  So the only thing I can figure is that the Notice to Quit is required in order to establish a new 1-year term under a new lease rather than month-to-month.  There doesn't appear to be a way to "renew" a lease for a full year.   I hope that I'm wrong and someone can steer to an easier way.  @Jessica Zolotorofe - Is this correct?  

    You can just agree to renew for a full year, but did the original lease period already expire? Is it currently month to month?

    Jessica Zolotorofe

      @Jessica Zolotorofe -

      No, the current lease runs until April 30.  So my 90 day requirement involves giving required notice by end of January.  How do I establish a new 1-year lease?  The default upon renewal is to convert to monthly.

      It only defaults to month to month if you don't (a) provide a notice to quit, or (b) enter into a new lease. Approach the tenant and ask if they'd like to enter into a new 1 year lease. 

      Jessica Zolotorofe

        Yes, I read that bulletin.  That's the link I included in my original post.  It's the reason I posed the question because that is the ONLY reference I have found in all of the NJ rental rules that mentions a Notice to Quit for renewal.  I guess I'll just play along and write a warm & fuzzy letter to my tenants to go along with it.  

        Sorry I missed that! It's not always called a notice to quit, and you don't have to necessarily call it that, as long as it contains the requisite notice provisions. You can also ask if they want to enter into a new lease agreement as opposed to month to month.  Here is a really good article that also gives law citations if you feel better using those: Article

        Jessica Zolotorofe

          I simply send an email to my tenants and tell them their lease expires on XXX date and that if they'd like to sign a new lease their rent will be $XXX an increase of $XXX over their current rent.  I also let them know they need to give me 60 days notice if they intend not to renew.  In reality, 30 days is all I need since I typically can't get tenants to lease 2 months ahead of time.  They always respond.  If they ever wind up not responding, I would send them a certified letter saying the same and then telling them if they don't respond I will assume they are vacating the premises and will be putting the apartment on the market etc.  I try not to be too formal but I do give them proper notice in writing.  When they say they want to renew, I send them a new lease with the new rent amount

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