You are currently viewing How to become a landlord in NJ

If you are wondering how to become a landlord in NJ, you are on the right website to learn all about it.

Becoming a landlord involves a series of paperwork and processes that can be complex. Therefore, our experienced NJ real estate attorney will be able to give you advice on all this matter. Call us today to evaluate your case.

How To Become A Landlord In NJ In 2022

Next, we will explain in detail how to become a landlord in New Jersey. To do this, you need to follow these steps:

owning homes for rent in new jersey

1# Invest In A Property

Buying a home in New Jersey is not an easy decision, especially if it will be used for rental income. Garden State stands out as a great place for first-time real estate investors.

  • While location determines supply, demand, expenses, return on investment, and rental income, New Jersey remains a great investment choice.
  • According to Realtor.com, the most notable cities for those without a lot of capital for a start-up investment are Gloucester City, Clayton and Stratford.
  • The most expensive places to invest could also be a good option, since the rents and the return on investment are much higher.

2# Prepare The Property

Landlords must do everything in their power to ensure that their properties are in the best possible condition before they are occupied by tenants.

New Jersey law requires landlords to hold their rental properties under an implied warranty of habitability. If this law is not followed, tenants have several legal rights available to them:

  1. The right to repair and deduct. Basically, tenants would do the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost from the rent. 
  2. The right to withhold rent until the landlord makes all necessary repairs.

3# Decide The Rental Price

This step is possibly one of the most complex. If this is your first time investing in New Jersey, we recommend hiring an expert real estate agent in the area to determine the amount to ask for.

You could also do some research on your own by looking at comparable rents in your area.

4# Market The Property

The property marketing stage is very similar to the process of selling a home in New Jersey. In this step, the rental property must be promoted, and for this, advertisements must be created that attract potential tenants.

For this step it is recommended to:

  • Use high quality images and resolution of the property.
  • Show the location of the property.
  • Highlight the amenities or benefits they will get from renting the property.

There are many ways to market a property, the most used are through social networks or property rental websites, such as Zillow or Trulia.

5# Evaluate Tenants

Although it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a good tenant and one that could be a headache, this step involves knowing what type of individuals will be living in the property.

If tenants are not properly screened, problematic tenants could lead to legal problems on the property.

landlord tenant lawyer nj

Our landlord and tenant lawyer in NJ will be able to help you in these scenarios. Additionally, in cases involving litigation, she is also an experienced real estate litigation attorney in New Jersey.

6# Sign A Lease

The lease is a contract that establishes the terms and conditions between the lessor and the lessee. This document allows landlords to repossess their rental property and have any damages caused by tenants compensated.

In addition, these contracts establish the following:

  • Collection rules and rent increases.
  • Maintenance of the rent.
  • Due dates of each payment.
  • Conditions of occupation of the property.
  • Automatic renewal of the contract.
  • Penalties for late payments.
  • Crime insurance.
  • Renters insurance.
  • Security deposit amount.

This contract must be written clearly, since both parties must fully understand the terms of the contract. 

7# Consider Landlord Insurance

Homeowners insurance does not cover all damage to the home, nor does it cover damage caused by natural disasters. However, landlord’s insurance will be required if a property is rented.

  • Homeowners insurance does not cover rental properties, so landlord insurance is necessary to avoid potential repair costs.
  • These landlord insurance could protect them against theft or robbery, damage during the lease and natural disasters such as earthquakes or floods.

In Garden State there is specific insurance against floods. To learn about this topic in extensive detail, check our article on flood insurance in New Jersey

Do I Need A License To Become A Landlord In NJ?

New Jersey does not require a rental license for landlords. However, the NJ Bureau of Housing Inspection requires a safety inspection of at least 5 years for some properties.

The housing office ensures that hotels and multi-family buildings with 3 or more stories do not pose a threat to the health, safety or well-being of residents.

Knowing how to become a landlord in New Jersey involves several criteria, which is why some prefer to sell the property as is. Check our blog on selling a house as is in New Jersey.

How Do I Register As A Landlord In NJ?

requirements to be a landlord in new jersey

Property law NJSA 46:8-27 states that landlords who lease properties to tenants must:

  1. Submit a Landlord Identity Registration Form, or
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Bureau of Housing Inspection of the Department of Community Affairs.

Additionally, the landlord must provide the information submitted to the housing inspection office to each tenant in the property.

What Do I Legally Need As A Landlord?

There are several legal criteria that must be met to avoid breaking the law in New Jersey:

  • Provide livable housing. Landlords are legally required to provide perfectly habitable facilities for any property rental in the state. 
  • Respect the privacy of tenants. Homeowners must give tenants at least one day’s notice before entering the rental property.
  • Comply with discrimination laws. The fair housing law prohibits any discriminatory act against tenants. This includes discrimination based on a tenant’s sexual orientation, gender or sources of income that won’t be tolerated.
  • Meet state security deposit limits. To avoid disputes between tenants and landlords, be aware of security deposit limits. This is usually a month and a half rent.
  • Follow state leasing rules. One of these rules to follow is the notice period, which is a notice that landlords must give to tenants so that they can pay their rent or face an eviction lawsuit. 
  • Offer a written legal contract. This lease must detail the business relationship between the tenant and the landlord. Typically, the tenant’s rental occupancy time and amount of rent are included. 
  • Do not retaliate against the legal right. In New Jersey, it is illegal for landlords to retaliate against tenants who exercise their legal right.

How To Become A Section 8 Landlord In NJ?

The Housing Choice Voucher Program (known as Section 8) is a program focused on providing affordable housing for families, seniors, and the disabled.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds this program through the public housing authorities. Homeowners benefit greatly from this program, as demand often outstrips supply. 

In order for a landlord to apply for this program, they must complete the following steps:

1# Advertise Vacancies To Section 8 Subsidized Incumbents

The way to advertise available vacancies can be through conventional channels, such as social networks or newspapers. Likewise, Section 8-focused websites can be used.

2# Evaluate Interested Applicants

Housing authorities are responsible for providing landlords with the names and contact information of the applicant’s current and former owners. However, landlords must complete the other evaluations.

Landlords are allowed to screen Section 8 tenants through the same process used for other tenants in the market.

3# Agree To Lease To Section 8 Family

Landlords must offer rentals to families selected in Section 8. To do so, they must contact the public housing agency that administers the program in their area.

new jersey section 8 landlord

4# Schedule A HUD Inspection Of The Property

The local housing authority must ensure that the rental property meets all housing quality standards. Generally speaking, landlords must provide:

  • Adequate lighting.
  • A roof that protects against the weather.
  • Reasonable protection against criminal intrusion.
  • Adequate air conditioning equipment.
  • Functional heating units.
  • Comforting and realiable heating.
  • Floors and walls that are resistant and do not run the risk of imminent collapse.

5# Sign A Lease 

HUD requires that you have an initial one year lease. If not, the lease may be subject to rental laws. 

It is important to contact your local public housing agency before you start looking for tenants. Similarly, you can also contact our firm so that the Curbelo Law team of professionals can help you navigate this program.

What Documents Are Needed To Submit To The Housing Authority?

Landlords must gather the following documents to submit to the housing authority:

  • IRS Form W-9. This form requires the Social Security number or taxpayer identification number, along with a copy of the Social Security card.
  • A landlord or authorized agent certification certifying that the landlord will follow all federal guidelines established for the program.
  • Completed request for tenancy approval. In addition, it must be signed by the tenant and the landlord. The form requires information on the property, location, amount of rent and its size.
  • State of New Jersey or government issued ID.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Landlord In NJ

Advantages Of Being A Landlord

  • Monthly passive income. Renting a property allows you to achieve predictable and constant monthly income. In New Jersey, rents are among the highest in the entire country.
  • Increase in value. In some areas of New Jersey, landlords can see up to a 33% increase in value in 3 years. By investing in the property, they can further increase its appreciation in value.
  • Fiscal benefits. Landlords get several tax benefits. For example, the possibility of deducting mortgage interest, renovation costs and other expenses on the property.

Disadvantages Of Being A Landlord

  • Maintenance costs. New Jersey law states that the landlord is responsible for all costs of maintaining the rental property. These costs can easily exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
  • Problems with tenants. There is no guarantee that tenants will pay their rent on time or in full. It is also not certain that the tenants will treat the property with respect and abide by all the rules imposed by the landlord.
  • Investment risks. There are certain risks that can occur when investing in property, such as the risk of losing the property in the event of a fire or flood.
  • Concentration risk. By keeping one or more rental properties for a long time, landlords can concentrate their assets and increase their long-term risk exposure.
    • Typically, when the neighborhood devalues ​​due to crime or poor schools, property values ​​may decline.
    • Also, if proper steps are not taken to protect the property from natural disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy), the landlord may lose their tenants, their monthly income, and their property.

Natural disasters and fires can happen anywhere, and New Jersey is no exception. For this reason, it is advisable to have flood insurance and compile with the NJ smoke detector requirements and certificate

How Much Do Landlords Earn?

Compared to a full-time job, being a landlord does not have a fixed income. The income of the rental property can vary for various reasons, these are:

  • Location. The location determines the cost of the property as how much you can charge for your rent. For example, it is more expensive to buy a home in a district with high ratings than in one with low ratings. 
  • Live in the same rental property. Landlords typically earn less income if they rent part of their living space. Also, there may be a loss of privacy for both parties.
  • Being a full-time landlord. Full-time landlords with multiple properties typically generate much more income than landlords just starting out in this business. 
  • Property appreciation. Although landlords earn income each month, according to Forbes, they earn more capital by selling the property in the future. This occurs because home prices rise by more than 4% per year.

Individuals are typically looking to learn how to become a landlord in New Jersey as it often generates a lot of income. 

Tips For First-Time Landlords

If you are looking to become a landlord in NJ for the first time, here are some things to consider:

  • Keep costs down. Landlords are advised not to spend more than the basics on their rental property, as it will not be their home after all.
  • Have a good accounting and bookkeeping system. Records are key to any landlord. Therefore, you must ensure that you keep all the necessary documents and accounting files. 
  • Thoroughly screen applicants. For a suitable rental, landlords must check the background and credit history of each of their applicants.
  • Have a good marketing strategy. Probably the first challenge new landlords encounter is finding clients. For this, it is ideal to contact a good real estate agent to help you attract clients.

Why Should I Contact The New Jersey Law Firm Of Curbelo Law?

Most individuals find that becoming a landlord is an excellent opportunity to generate income, especially in New Jersey. Regardless of how you want to achieve it, being a landlord often involves a lot of work.

This article was focused on answering how to become a landlord in NJ. However, if you want personalized advice regarding this matter, do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Curbelo Law.

The firm has over 10 years of experience in real estate matters in New Jersey. Any present or future landlord will find the answer to all their questions and concerns when venturing into this business model.