A new bill has been introduced in the Senate that will impact how landlords do business. S1448 if enacted would require all residential leases to contain a three day attorney review provision similar to the one contained in the realtor real estate contracts for the sale of properties. The bill would require on the top of the first page of a lease the following:
THIS IS A LEGALLY BINDING LEASE THAT WILL BECOME FINAL AFTER THREE BUSINESS DAYS OR ON THE DATE THAT THE TENANT FIRST OCCUPIES THE DWELLING, WHICHEVER IS EARLIER. PRIOR TO THAT TIME YOU MAY CHOOSE TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY WHO CAN REVIEW AND CANCEL THE LEASE. SEE SECTION ON ATTORNEY REVIEW FOR DETAILS.
The attorney review provisions of the law would not apply to units that are already rented but are up for renewal. It would also not apply to leases drawn up by realtors because they already contained the required language.
The bill would also require a clause that sets forth the three day attorney review provision. Given all of the protections that NJ’s landlord tenant laws provide to a tenant I am not sure what more can be negotiated for. From a landlord’s prospective, it can create havoc. For example, if a landlord as has 10 unit apartment building, the negotiations under the attorney review provisions, could lead to 10 very different leases. It would be very difficult to maintain track of all of the differences in the leases and to enforce them. If the landlord is not careful the negotiated changes in one lease could conflict with the negotiated terms in a neighbor’s lease. It will be far simpler for a landlord to not negotiate different terms for a lease. And that is probably what is going to happen.
We will see if this bill moves along in the legislative process.