Tenants with out a lease

9 Replies

My friend just purchased a quad and has tenants from previous owner that do not have a lease. What options does he have for evicting? He wants them out. He started eviction process. I am wondering if he can get them out of his unit earlier since there is no lease signed rather then have to wait to go to court. This is happening in New Jersey.

You would have to check into the town but I woukd think it would be something like a thirty day notice. talk to a lawyer.

First make sure that the tenants do not have a verbal agreement (1yr CA) with the previous owner. If the existing written agreement has expired tenancy a 30 day notice terminating tenancy, 60 day notice if tenant has lived on the premises longer than a year. 

Oral rental agreements

In an oral rental agreement, you and the landlord agree orally (not in writing) that you will rent the rental unit. In addition, you agree to pay a specified rent for a specified period of time - for example, a week or a month. This kind of rental agreement is legally binding on both you and the landlord, even though it is not in writing unless a tenant and a landlord agree to the lease of a rent unit for more than one year, the agreement must be in writing.55 If such an agreement is not in writing, it is not enforceable. If you have a valid oral agreement and later have a disagreement with your landlord, you will have no written proof of the terms of your rental agreement. Therefore, it’s usually best to have a written rental agreement.

However, even if the agreement is oral, the landlord must give you a written statement regarding the name, street address, and phone number of the landlord or agent for receipt of legal notices; the contact information for the person who is to accept the rent; and how the rent is to be paid (for example by cash, check or money order.)

It's especially important to have a written rental agreement if your tenancy involves special circumstances, such as any of the following:

  • You plan to live in the unit for a long time (for example, nine months or a year);
  • Your landlord has agreed to your having a pet or water-filled furniture (such as a waterbed); or
  • The landlord has agreed to pay any expenses (for example, utilities or garbage removal) or to provide any services (for example, a gardener).

@Shawn M.   Luckily I don't have much experience in eviction but I know sometimes landlords will do cash for keys to get tenants out.  Have you considered that route?  

Yes, cash for keys is an option.

A tenant who had a lease that expired and stays has a year to year tenancy.

A tenant who has no written agreement is tenancy at will, oral agreements are not effective. All states hang with the "Statute of Frauds" all RE is by written agreement. Now, there may be provisions for oral agreements, but that is if the parties agree that the same agreement existed, you can't prove terms of oral agreements if they are contested.  Tenancy at will, requires notice as a month to month generally, it will be by state law as to when notice must be given;

Dates of notice are important, it may require 30 days with notice on the first, follow the process to the "T" as in that case, your eviction date won't be the first of the following month but 30 days after notice. Saying, check state laws carefully.

In cases where you have no lease agreement it's a good idea to let your attorney do the first one, then you'll learn. Being a day off can set you back 30+ days, then you may have another 30 days to court, another 10 or 15 until they show up to toss them out. So, it matters. :)


1) Curious why they want the tenants out. If its only because they don't have a lease then just draw up a new lease (month to month or year) for them to sign. If they have to get out; have they tried to ask them first and see what their position is and if they would leave by a certain date or have they already said no; we are not leaving

2) If no luck then go with cash for keys

3) If that doesn't work then you have to go with the lawyer/eviction route. Follow all the rules properly. 

Hi @Mark Langdon  the tenants have not paid since ownership switched hands.

Any recommendation for starting number with cash for key?

It depends on what the current rent amounts are. I am not an expert since I have never had to do this yet with my tenants but you have to think in their shoes. I am guessing it would need to be at least 1 month's rent to worth to make it worth their while. You would say 1 month's rent if they leave this Saturday by 12 Noon and the place is empty and clean in a "broom swept" condition. Obviously you could try doing a lower amount first to see if they would bite but probably best to put in only "one best and final offer" and be firm about it. 

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