All New Jersey Residential Evictions other than those brought for non-payment of rent require a landlord to first provide the tenant with notice(s) prior to filing the action with the Court. There are two types of notices under the Statute - the Notice to Cease and the Notice to Quit. In all cases, the Notice to Quit will be required. In the many cases, the Notice to Cease is also required. In this week's article, we will detail these requirements along with the requisite timing for each.
Notice to Cease
The first Notice is the Notice to Cease. It is a warning notice, which alerts the tenant to the fact that he or she may be in violation and that such violation must immediately stop. Contrary to popular belief, the Anti-Eviction Act does not establish any minimum time requirement for the Notice to Cease. Instead, the law only requires that the time period given to the tenant must be reasonable in light of the violation alleged. For instance, in cases where the Notice to Cease requires an action on the part of the tenant, such as removing a pet or an extra occupant, the landlord should allow the tenant some time to cure the violation. Other causes for eviction, such as disorderly conduct, that can be cured relatively fast, do not require the landlord to give the tenant any time to cure.
Notice to Quit
After providing the tenant with a reasonable time to cure the alleged violation, the landlord will still need to provide the tenant with a Notice to Quit before an eviction can be filed. While some causes for eviction do not require a Notice to Cease, all residential eviction actions, other than those for non-payment of rent do require Notice to Quit. This notice provides the tenant with notice that an eviction action will be filed in a specified period of time (see section on "timing" below). In cases where the Notice to Cease is required, the Notice to Quit may not be sent to the tenant unless he or she has failed to correct the violations alleged in the Notice to Cease.
The Notice to Quit must specify a date at which the tenancy is to be terminated. Under the Act, the time period required to be given to the tenant on a Notice to Quit can be as short as 3 days and as long as 18 months depending on the cause for eviction. In the plurality of cases, the Statute sets the minimum time period at one month. In cases where the time period specified is one month, it is crucial to note that the Statute defines one month to mean one full calendar month from the next time rent is due. For example, if the Notice is received by the tenant on September 2, the soonest possible date of termination is October 31 (not October 2). For this reason, attorneys will often need to use some strategy in determining when to send the Notices in order to minimize the wait time.