In most cases, landlord-tenant disputes are handled in the Landlord/Tenant Section of the New Jersey Superior Court's Special Civil Part. However, cases that involve particularly difficult issues may need to be litigated in the Law Division of the Superior Court.
Landlord/Tenant Court is one of three sections within the Superior Court's Special Civil Part. There are a number of landlord-tenant issues handled in this court, including allegations of:
- Failure to pay rent;
- Continued disorderly conduct;
- Willful destruction of property;
- Habitual lateness in paying rent;
- Violation of rules and regulations; and,
- Tenant convictions for drug offenses.
Complaints can only be filed once a landlord has provided a tenant with written notice to cease a particular type of conduct. If a tenant refuses to comply, the landlord can initiate the eviction process and file in Landlord/Tenant Court.
The Landlord/Tenant Court has limited jurisdiction and, as a result, can only address cases that involve disputes over a tenant's removal from a property. Specifically, the Law Division handles cases regarding:
- The return of security deposits in an amount less than $15,000, but more than $5,000; and,
- Money damages of less than $15,000, but more than $3,000, including cases involving eviction, unpaid rent, and the collection of unpaid bills.
Alternatively, the Small Claims Section can decide cases where a plaintiff is seeking less than $3,000 in damages for matters involving unpaid rent, unpaid bills, and property damage. There is one exception to this rule: In cases that involve a tenant asking a landlord to return his or her security deposit, the tenant can request up to $5,000.
In some other cases, the landlord-tenant issues are so complicated that in order to be fully litigated, the case must be removed to the Law Division of the Superior Court. For instance, a non-filing party may file a motion for removal based on the need for additional discovery. If granted, the Landlord/Tenant judge can transfer the case.
Contact an experienced New Jersey civil litigation attorney today
Landlord-tenant disputes can quickly become expensive, time-consuming, and stressful ordeals, so if you are a tenant or landlord and have a serious disagreement with another party, it is critical to retain an experienced civil litigation attorney who can help you file with the correct court or enter into settlement negotiations. Please call the legal team at Kridel Law Group at (973) 470-0800 to speak with a dedicated civil litigation attorney who can address your landlord-tenant concerns.