In New Jersey a landlord is not allowed to refuse to renew a lease with a tenant without grounds for “good cause”. Grounds for good cause may sound obvious, but they include the following reasons:
- Failing to pay rent when due or owed.
- Disorderly conduct that disturbs the peace and quiet of neighbors.
- Tenant’s gross negligence which has caused damage or destruction to the premises.
- Continued violation or breach of landlord’s reasonable rules.
- Failure to pay rent after a valid notice to quit and a reasonable rent increase.
- Premises will be demolished due to housing violations affecting health and safety.
- Owner’s desire to permanently retire the premises from residential use.
- Tenant’s refusal to accept proposed new terms of lease that are reasonable at termination of the lease and lease renewal.
- The building where the premises is located is being converted to a condo or coop structure.
- The tenancy was conditioned on the tenant being employed as a superintendent, janitor, or in some other capacity and the employment is being terminated.
There are several additional reasons why a landlord can claim good cause for not renewing a lease based on criminal and civil violations:
- Tenant has been convicted of or plead guilty to a drug related offense as outlined in the Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987, N.J.S.2C:35-1 et al., involving the use, possession, manufacture, dispensing or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia.
- Tenant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to an offense under N.J.S.2C:12-1 or N.J.S.2C:12-3 involving assault, or terroristic threats against the landlord, a member of the landlord's family or an employee of the landlord; or, knowingly harbors or harbored a person who has been so convicted or has so pleaded.
- Tenant has been found liable in a civil action of theft of property on the premises, either theft from the landlord or other residents.