New Jersey Landlords Not Required To Ask For Proof of U.S. Citizenship

Several states have immigration laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, however, New Jersey does not have any laws that require landlords to check the immigration forms of their tenants.

New Jersey courts ruled in favor of property owners in April after a February settlement of a 2008 lawsuit against a landlord. The landlord was sued after a resident in his building claimed he was not checking immigration status of some of the other tenants. The resident also claimed the landlord allegedly was accepting documents that he knew were not proof of legal status. The resident believed that since the landlord was allegedly allowing undocumented immigrants to live in his building, he was guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which penalize individuals who are involved in racketeering.

According to The Star-Ledger, the landlord was supported by LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Support was also offered by the Latin American Coalition, a non-profit organization made up of tenants, residents and property owners who advocate services to Latinos. The judge ruled on February 24 that renting is not considered harboring a criminal and the charges were dismissed.

However, had the landlord been convicted of the crime, it may have moved in a different direction. If he had been charged, landlords may have been held responsible for checking whether potential tenants had U.S. citizenship in the future.