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If you are not working with a realtor to find a rental, I suggest you do so to make sure it is a legal rental.
I get the feeling that you found a rental online where the "owner" is out of the country and requesting the "deposit" then will be back in time to get you the keys and the lease. Is this the case?
Here's a link to the NJ Truth In Renting brochure, which outlines both landlord and tenant obligations.
Page 9 clearly states:
The security deposit cannot be more than one and one-half times one monthâ€™s rent.
It can be less. Any additional yearly security deposit increase may not exceed 10%
of the current security deposit. A landlord may not charge a pet security deposit if it
exceeds one and one-half times one monthâ€™s rent when combined with the regular
The landlord may only require one and one-half times the tenantâ€™s monthly rent as
security and the first monthâ€™s rent at the inception of the lease. That means the landlord
may not require more that two and one-half times the monthly rent at the inception
of the lease, this includes the security deposit and the fi st monthâ€™s rent.
(JUST A NOTE: the above statement doesn't include any commission that might have to be paid if you are using a Realtor. Sometimes the tenant is responsible for the commission too, which is usually the equivalent of one months rent....this can increase your total outlay of money to 3.5 times the monthly rent)
What if you paid two months in advance and it turns out the present tenant decides to stay? You will now have a problem waiting for the landlord to return your money. He may start with the excuses of a problem tenant and that they'll be moving any day.
None of this will matter to you when you're on the street waiting for your apartment, and no money to secure another. OR, the landlord may be in foreclosure and need the money for other purposes.
Any time a landlord asks for more than you are legally obligated for or so far in advance, red flags should go up.
Red flags should not be ignored.....
There is a lot of fraud involving non-owners renting property that does not belong to them, asking for deposits and rental amounts in advance of a signed agreement and keys. Under these circumstances, you would be well within your rights to require proof of ownership prior to providing any money.
New Jersey only allows landlords to collect up to one and half months for a security deposit and you should have lease agreement that includes the deposit amount. Beware of any landlord that is requesting a full deposit amount before you sign a lease.
Best of luck to you!
No! It is not normal for a landlord to request the deposit money two months in advance without anything in writing. Don't ever give a deposit without an agreement in writing signed by both parties.
I suggest that you check with the tax assessor's office to determine the name of the owner for verification.
But it does sound like a scam to me. Be cautious!
Prudential Connecticut Realty