NJ Tenant breaking lease

I rent rooms in my house here in new jersey.

I have a tenant who signed a lease. I have a late fee after the 5th of the month, shared utilities which is a minimum of 50 bucks per month, no smoking and no overnight guests and no guests on property when the tenant is not physically on property. I strictly advertise for single occupancy only and i believe the verbiage is in the lease :banghead

Well, this is guy is always late with his rent and has yet to pay utilities. Now there is a person in his room and he is not here. Another tenant texted me to tell me she was there chilling in her robe. I think he is trying to move his girlfriend in under the radar. I don’t want any non-paying people here at all. I don’t run a charity facility. I have a mortgage to pay. :banghead How can I keep her from establishing residency???

Do I write “notices to cease” for each offense or can I put all of them on one notice?

Also, is it legal to charge a non-refundable fee in lieu of a deposit? To purchase brand new beds for example?

Ok. My disclaimer is that I don’t have any houses where I rent rooms to different people and there may be different rules for that, but I’ll give you my feedback on how I would handle this based on the rules I must follow as a landlord.

When you say you believe the verbiage is in the lease, you should know the verbiage is in the lease. I basically know my lease by heart (I wrote it after all) and I have copies of tenant leases on my computer I can look at any time.

There is a clause in our lease which states visitors staying longer than 14 days at one time or more than 21 days in a calendar year must have prior permission from the landlord. This keeps someone from moving other people in. We do background checks on all of our tenants. We don’t want people who can pass a background check moving in and then later moving their felon relative in after the lease starts.

Different violations warrant different periods to remedy the problem in most states. Here in MS, I can give someone a 3 day notice for late rent. I can file a court case after the 3 days are up if they haven’t paid up. If the tenant is violating the lease in another way besides late rent (say they brought a Pit Bull dog on the property), they have 30 days to fix it. You have to know the laws for your area.

Several places charge non-refundable pet deposits, but you usually can’t just charge random non-refundable fees. Figure it like this…beds can last for several years (maybe even a few decades). Can you really pin that much wear and tear on a tenant over the course of a year or two which would justify you having to buy a whole new bed? Now excess damage is different. If your tenant purposely broke the bed by jumping on it, that’s different.


This should give you plenty of guidance.

Ditto to everything that justin posted.


  • Renting to both sexes. This is just a catastrophe in the making on so many levels I can’t breathe. Pick a sex to rent to, and stay with that one (the same sex as you, for starters).

  • Collect a larger deposit to screen out the “poor” people and scofflaws.

  • Supply the tenant with a copy of the lease. There’s no such thing as verbal leases (which is effectively what it sounds like your operating from). Otherwise, why aren’t you just reviewing the written terms with your ‘management headache?’

  • Include the $50 utility split in the total rent amount, without itemization, so that you’re not collecting rents ‘twice.’

  • Designate each room you’re renting with a “number” such as 1A, 2A, 3A at 1234 West St. Add this room designation to the address on the lease agreement, so that it is clear what you’re renting out, and to whom.

  • Set your due date to the First, not the Fifth. There doesn’t need to be any grace period. You’re already giving the renter 30 days to get you the money, so if you set your due date on the fifth, it’s just 30 days, plus another five. Why?
    Meantime, you’ll never get your rent before the fifth at this rate.

  • The rent should be considered late if received on the Second day of the month, not the Sixth day of the month as you have it now. Charge an initial late fee of $150 on the second day of the month. We charge $150 - $250 depending on the size of the unit and the rental rate. This fee becomes MORE inconvenient, and a powerful motivator to pay, when the rents are just a few hundred dollars.

  • There should be a daily late fee of $15 each day tacked on, every day after the Second.

The reason for the daily fee, is that once the initial late fee kicks in (see above), the renter’s motivation to pay stops …since he’s already incurred a late fee, he asks himself, “What difference does it make when I pay at this point? I already owe $150 more. So, what’s the hurry?” The daily fee just maintains the renter’s motivation to get you paid.

  • Tell the other renter, that hangs out in her bath robe, to get dressed. What’s she thinking?

Hope that helps.

I’m also from NJ, and based on what I know, NJ doesn’t ‘legally’ allow room rentals in the arrangement you have. Point being, taking legal action against him will probably only hurt you.

So I’d suggest two things:

  1. Don’t piss off this idiot. He’ll file a complaint with city hall and you’ll get screwed with fines.
  2. Screen your tenants better. I stress the details of my lease when I first meet with them. NO overnight guests, sharing, etc. at all. I’ve never had an issue, because I only rent to extremely decent people with good morals/ethics/etc. Usually college/grad students or working professionals who are too busy or don’t care to date.
  3. I would approach him respectfully and tell him he needs to follow the rules and respect the other housemates or pack his stuff and leave. Again, it could get messy, you may even lose a month’s rent, but it’s better than having him file a complaint with city hall.
  4. As for the non-refundable fee in lieu of deposit, I wouldn’t do it. It’s not fair to the tenants who actually keep the place clean. They deserve their deposits back. But my lease states that any damage beyond normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the tenant. I do my best to make my tenant’s life easier and they’ve always reciprocated.

Thank you so much. I will adjust my leases. Right now all tenants are males. The person in the robe is a stowaway.She’s his girlfriend. And apparently has been hiding in his room while he is at work.

Again, I will adjust the lease. His lease is up April 1st. My late payment was only $25. Big mistake I see. He’s only paid $600 of his rent and no utilities. Plus the stowaway. Should I just endure it and provide him a notice that I will not be continuing his lease and he has to be completely moved out 8am? I guess my plan is to write a cease notice first then a notice not to re-lease to this dud?

Actually, the law requires a grace period.