The eviction process for tenants in New Jersey typically follows a set of legal steps outlined by state law. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Always consult with an attorney before beginning the eviction process
- Notice to Quit or Pay Rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must serve them with a “Notice to Quit” or a “Notice to Quit or Pay Rent.” This notice informs the tenant that they must either pay the rent owed within a specified period (usually 30 days) or vacate the premises.
- Filing a Complaint: If the tenant fails to pay rent or refuses to vacate the property after receiving the notice, the landlord can file a complaint with the Special Civil Part of the Superior Court in the county where the property is located. The complaint should outline the reasons for eviction and any other relevant details.
- Service of Summons and Complaint: The court will issue a summons and serve it along with the complaint to the tenant. This informs the tenant of the legal action being taken against them and the date of the court hearing.
- Court Hearing: The court will schedule a hearing where both the landlord and tenant can present their cases. If the tenant fails to appear, the court may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord.
- Judgment for Possession: If the court rules in favor of the landlord, it will issue a judgment for possession. This gives the landlord the legal right to evict the tenant if they do not voluntarily vacate the premises by a specified date.
- Warrant for Removal: If the tenant still does not leave after the judgment for possession, the landlord can request a warrant for removal from the court. The sheriff’s office will then serve the warrant to the tenant, giving them a final opportunity to vacate the property voluntarily.
- Enforcement of Warrant for Removal: If the tenant refuses to leave after receiving the warrant for removal, the sheriff’s office will physically remove them from the property.
It’s important to note that eviction laws can vary depending on the specific circumstances and location within New Jersey. Additionally, tenants have rights throughout the eviction process, including the right to defend against eviction and seek legal counsel. Therefore, it’s crucial for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities under state law.