Arthur R. Panza
Attorney at Law
PO Box 244
228 Kings Highway East Haddonfield, NJ 08033

Member: Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars

NJ Tel: (856) 428-2121
Fax: (856) 216-9035
PA Tel: (215) 923-3079

New Jersey Evictions for Cause

Evicting tenants because Owner seeks to Personally Occupy Property

The New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act, NJ.S.A. 2A:18-61.1-61.12 et seq. sets forth various reasons for which owners can evict residential tenants. One of the reasons concerns an owner’s intention to personally occupy the property. An owner of a building three (3) units or less may tender Notice to Vacate to a tenant if:

  1. Said Owner seeks to personally occupy the unit or has contracted to sell the unit to a Buyer who seeks to personally the unit. See N.J.S.A. 2A:61.1(1) (3)’

If a Buyer of the property seeks to personally occupy the unit, the Contract of Sale must include a clause calling for the unit to be vacant at closing. NJ.S.A. 2A:61.1(I) (3)

If there is a lease in effect, the tenant can argue that no eviction case can go forward until expiration of the lease term. See New Jersey Truth in Renting Guide, published by the NJ. Department of Community Affairs, tenth edition. Page 32.

N.J.S.A. 2A:61.1(I)(3) requires owners to tender two(2) months written notice to quit(vacate) premises before filing suit for eviction.

N.S.J.A. 2A:18-61.6 – Liability for Wrongful Evictions

Owners can face liability for wrongful evictions as per NJ.S.A. 2A:18-61.6. If a tenant vacates the premises at the Owner’s request to personally occupy the property, the owner must occupy said premises for at least six(6) months. In addition, if the tenant is told the premises are being sold and the owner arbitrarily fails to execute the contract for sale, but allows personal occupancy of the premises by another tenant, said owner can be held liable to the former tenant for damages. NJ.S.A. 2A:18-61.6(a)

If an owner purchases premises under contract requiring a tenant to vacate, but fails to occupy the property for at least six(6) months, but instead permits occupancy by another tenant, the owner can be held liable to the former tenant for damages. NJ.S.A. 2A:18-61.6(b)

If a Court rules that a tenant has been wrongfully evicted, owners can be held liable to the former tenant for three times the amount of any damages plus attorney fees and costs. See NJ.S.A. 2A:18-61.6(a) & (b).

Whether a Court finds wrongful eviction or awards damages, would, of course, depend upon the facts of a particular case.

This article is not offered as legal advice. New Jersey landlords and tenants are advised to consult with landlord and tenant counsel before moving forward with any course of action.

Arthur R. Panza, Esquire

* Arthur R. Panza, Esquire has practiced Landlord and Tenant law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 36 years and 25 years respectively.