Rent Control and “Additional Rent”
This guide provides information on important New Jersey law related to eviction actions for non-payment of rent.
In many actions for non-payment of rent brought by landlords against tenants, charges such as late fees and legal fees can be added to the rent claimed to be due and owing if those charges are designated as “additional rent” in the lease. The tenant would therefore have to pay those additional charges, in addition to the base rent, to have the complaint dismissed.
However, in the recent published New Jersey Superior Court opinion in the case of Opex Realty Management v. Taylor, the Court held that “In properties subject to rent control, late and legal fees designated as ‘additional rent’ cannot form the basis for a judgment of possession unless expressly authorized by the rent control ordinance.” Therefore, if the monthly rent claimed due, together with any fees or other charges designated as “additional rent”, exceed the maximum monthly rent permitted by the rent control ordinance, the landlord cannot collect those fees as additional rent in an action for eviction for non-payment of rent.