owner occupied 2 family with failed septic

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owner occupied 2 family with failed septic

have a house in New Jersey with an apartment upstairs that I rent month-to-month to a couple. My son and I live downstairs. My septic tank unfortunately has failed due to old age not negligence. We are unable to use water in the house without it backing up into the house. I have had a series of plumbers to the house trying to fix or restore the system to no avail. I am now in the slow and expensive process of having it replaced. I have been very open and honest with the tenant during this process and told him he should move on verbally. He was late paying September before the issues began and has not paid September or October which I would even be willing to waive if he left. When I told him the system was going to have to be replaced, he became hostile and said this house is uninhabitable but refuses to leave. The timing of the septic replacement is in control of the engineers, township permit approval and work being completed which could take weeks at best. What is my best course of action in proceeding? I really just want him out at this point.

Asked on October 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, even if you are not willing to accept his money and just want him out, file a nonpayment of rent eviction action: if he is unable or unwilling to get current on rent by the trial date, he will be evicted, and a nonpayment case is the fastest way to get into landlord-tenant court in New Jersey. While winning on this basis is not guaranteed, since he may pay, it offers the possibility of a fast, simple, and inexpensive resolution.
Second, if you live in the home and have only the one tenant, and he is on a month-to-month lease, you can send him written notice (mail it; certified mail it, and also hand deliver) terminating his tenancy on one month's notice. (In New Jersey that's really a month plus: whatever is left of the current month plus all of the next month.) If he does not leave by then, you can file what is called a "holdover" eviction action to remove him.
New Jersey landlord-tenant law is very technical: minor errors in paperwork or process force you to start over. Do yourself a favor and hire a landlord-tenant attorney to help you.


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