Disputes between landlords and commercial tenants arise every day. When you receive an eviction notice or are dealing with a tenant who is breaching the lease or failing to pay rent, it helps to have an experienced New Jersey commercial landlord-tenant lawyer in your corner to help ensure your legal rights remain protected. We defend all types of commercial landlord-tenant litigation. Call our office at 732.360.6409 to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey business lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq. We know New Jersey landlord-tenant law and we look forward to hearing about your case.


One of the most common types of commercial landlord-tenant litigation is evictions. When a tenant fails to adhere to the terms of their lease, or when the lease expires, a commercial landlord may have the right to evict. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq., we are well-versed in the requirements for a commercial eviction. Parties to eviction litigation must understand the nuanced statutory requirements.

The following conditions must generally be met before a landlord can evict a commercial tenant.

  • There has to be a landlord-tenant relationship between the landlord and tenant
  • There must be grounds for evicting the tenant
  • The landlord must follow legal and contractual notice requirements
  • The tenancy must be terminated

According to the New Jersey Eviction Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53, the possible grounds for eviction for non-residential tenants may include:

  • Failing to vacate the premises after the end of the tenancy
  • Failing to pay rent
  • Destroying the peace and quiet of others
  • Willful destruction or damage to the premises
  • Continuous violation of the lease agreement
  • Breach of a lease term that grants the landlord a right of re-entry upon the violation
  • Other defaults as provided in the lease

A lease can also be terminated without cause, such as when the lease agreement specifies that either party can end the tenancy early without cause by providing notice.

Procedures for Commercial Evictions

The procedure for eviction depends on the grounds for eviction. When the ground for eviction is nonpayment of rent, the landlord does not need to provide any notice to the tenant before filing for eviction unless the lease so requires. However, for any other grounds, a landlord usually has to serve the commercial tenant with notice to cease (if required by the terms) or a notice to quit and a demand for possession.

A notice to cease warns the tenant that they must stop violating the lease before the landlord can terminate. A notice to quit and demand for possession is typically required before a court will hear an eviction challenge.

The Complaint

An eviction begins with filing a complaint in the appropriate court, which depends on which county the disputed property is located. Like any other complaint, an eviction complaint must be verified and allege the facts giving rise to the eviction. The complaint should also include attached copies of relevant documents, such as the lease, notice, and any other documents evidencing the grounds for eviction.


Service of the complaint and summons is usually completed by a sheriff’s officer, but it can be done by any other authorized person. For landlord-tenant actions, the New Jersey service of process requires:

  • Personal service and ordinary mail, or
  • If personal service cannot be effected, posting a copy of the summons and complaint on the door of the premises.

How Is an Eviction Decided?

Evictions are summary proceedings, so they are typically handled by a judge and no jury. The tenant has an opportunity to raise affirmative defenses to the eviction. Such affirmative defenses may include:

  • Landlord’s failure to meet all procedural requirements (such as notice, service, or issues with the complaint)
  • Proof of payment to refute an allegation of non-payment of rent
  • Alleging that the tenant did not engage in the conduct that the landlord claims to have been the grounds for eviction
  • Landlord’s breach of warranty

When nonpayment is the only ground for eviction, a commercial tenant can usually avoid being evicted by paying any back rent and present rent before the court grants the landlord possession. Similarly, even if the judge finds for the landlord, the judge may also determine that the landlord also breached the lease or a warranty, and therefore the tenant may receive  a credit toward the amount of rent owed, called an “abatement.”

There are countless ways for a commercial tenant to defend themselves against an eviction complaint. If you are facing a New Jersey commercial landlord-tenant dispute or eviction, consider reaching out to our experienced New Jersey commercial lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq.

Suits for Unpaid Rent and Property Damage

Even when not seeking an eviction, a landlord or tenant may have cause to file suit based on breaches of the lease, unpaid rent, or property damage. These areas are typically governed by the terms of the lease, as well as any applicable state landlord-tenant law. If you are considering filing a lawsuit in a commercial-landlord tenant dispute, consider contacting an experienced attorney to find out if you have a strong case.

How Did COVID-19 Impact Commercial Tenancies?

COVID-19 had a massive impact on the commercial real estate market. When shops had to close down temporarily, they struggled to pay rent to their commercial landlords. While eviction moratoriums popped up both at the national and state level throughout the pandemic, the one in New Jersey only applied to residential leases. Therefore, commercial landlords were still free to file an eviction action for non-payment of rent. However, each action is case-specific; in some cases, a force majeure clause in the lease may prohibit this type of action. Before determining a course of action with regard to your landlord-tenant case, it is prudent to speak with an experienced attorney to help interpret your lease.

Get Help from a New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Jonathan Fleisher, Esq., we have represented a wide range of commercial landlords and tenants. We believe in finding the most effective and cost-efficient solution to disputes, and when possible, we try to settle the disputes to avoid going to court. Give us a call at 732.360.6409 for all of your questions about New Jersey commercial landlord-tenant law.