A message to tenants in need of free legal services: We regret that our public health emergency has resulted in so many tenants in need of free legal services. However, Shanahan & Voigt, LLC and Nicole L. Voigt, Esq. do not provide free legal services. If you are in need of free legal services, we recommend that you contact Legal Services of New Jersey and/or search for assistance through not-for-profit or similar programs in your area. In addition, you might find helpful information at the State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs, Landlord-Tenant Information Service.
The below checklist is for informational purposes only, and does not exclude the landlord from complying with any other requirements imposed by local, state, or federal law, nor does it replace the advice of an attorney. Not all requirements apply to all properties. Review the lease prepared by your attorney specifically for the property to be leased, to confirm those requirements applicable to your landlord/tenant relationship.
1. Complete Lease – complete all blanks or write N/A. Print neatly. Leave no empty blanks. Complete lease in the name of the person, partnership, or business entity owning the property. If owned by a business entity, sign the lease in your business capacity, only.
2. Include all adults occupying the property and ensure they sign the lease as tenants.
3. Obtain IRS Form W-9 for all adults occupying the property and signing as tenants.
4. Ensure a completed, signed rental application is on file and retained for each adult occupying the property and signing the lease.
5. Security deposit cannot exceed 1.5 times the monthly rent, including any pet deposit.
6. Collect the security deposit in its entirety and comply with all requirements of the New Jersey Security Deposit Law. Notify the tenant of the name and address of the bank holding the deposit, as well as the account type, interest rate, and amount of deposit, within 30 days of receipt.
7. If the property is in a flood zone or area, notify the tenant in writing, preferably in the lease.
8. Do a walk-thru with the tenant, and complete all relevant portions of the lease section on Care and Condition of the Apartment.
9. Provide the following documents at the time of lease signing, and before the Tenant takes occupancy:
- Rules and Regulations
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- Pamphlet: Protect Your Family from Lead in your Home
- Flood Certificate, if located in Flood Zone
- PWTA water analytical reports, if located in a flood zone
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Truth in Renting, A guide to the rights and responsibilities of residential tenants and landlords in New Jersey.
- Landlord’s New Jersey Registration Statement
- Landlord’s Municipal Registration Statement
- Window Guard Notification
10. Have each tenant INITIAL all acknowledgements in the lease, including, without limitation:
- Windows Guards
- Lead-Based Paint
- Flood Zone
- Acknowledgement of Receiving Documents
11. Retain original copies of all documents in a safe place. Provide a fully executed copy of your lease to your attorney.
12. Post the Truth in Renting guide in a location prominent and accessible to all tenants at the property, and update annually.
© Shanahan & Voigt, LLC 2014
BE ADVISED that these comments are not legal opinions and are not to be relied upon as legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact your county bar association; most of which have referral services.