Rental Basics in East Orange>Question Details

Shelly, Home Buyer in New York, NY

Can i be denied an apartment a week before move in date after paying deposit and having credit approval?

Asked by Shelly, New York, NY Mon Feb 23, 2009

i paid for a credit check and paid a deposit to hold appartment until approved . I was approved then they requested papers of income. then i was asked to pay the deposit for the apartment and was told my move in date. a week before move in date i get a letter with both deposits stateing a was not approved. my apartment is already rented for the same time that i was supposed to move.Dont know what to do? Can they deny me like that a week before. even after giving them all paper work they requested and their approval??

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One prospect called me recently and described to me a similar situation. She was approved for the apartment and given a move-in date. There was a barrel of issues as she described the matter to me. The first thing I learned was that the person who was paid to get tenants was not licensed, which was a major problem all by itself.

She called me again to thank me for my advice on how to handle the situation and added an element that she had not before. The unlicensed rental agent asked her about an article of clothing that depicted her religion. She corrected him on what religion the article represented. A few days later she received a letter with all of her moneys refunded and a letter revoking the approval. She questioned the unlicensed rental agent who all but told her it was because of her religion. She called the local HUD office where she learned that the landlord had violated the Federal (I should note also the State) anti-discrimination laws. The rest is history. She will likely get the apartment rent- free for a year or two and still be able to sue. Not to mention the fines and other sanctions from HUD. If she then exercises her right to file a State case... .

New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is about the tightest in the nation. You have a right to know their basis for withdrawing their approval.

You do not have to have a signed lease. You only need to have a letter of either disapproval or as in the above case, a letter revoking a prior approval. The laws are slightly different for owner-occupied two-family houses and a few other very narrow categories. The only absolute prohibition is race. However, a real estate licensee CANNOT be involved in a rental that exercises even the properly excepted otherwise illegal discrimination.

You can go to this site for the NJ brochure:,

We wish you the best, and will be glad to help in any way we can.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 26, 2009
I am not an attorney and I am voicing my opinion here, Do you have signed lease contracts? Signed documents that confirm that you ahve a lease? If so, then you have a case, but if you do not.. I don't think there is much you can do.

All the more reason to work with a realtor, either buying a home or renting a property.

I hope it works out for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 23, 2009
What was the reason for the denial? If your timeline is correct and they had no problem with your credit check or income verification and gave you a move in date while accepting your 2nd deposit, I would want to know why they returned your deposits and denied you tenancy. The reason for denial may help us answer your question. Furthermore, did you ever receive a signed lease from the landlord?

You really need the advice of a real estate attorney for this. I believe there are circumstances where you can be denied--ie, if the home is going to be occupied by the owners. Plus, if you never had a signed lease, you may not have recourse.

If you don't want to speak with an attorney, I can get you a copy of the "Truth in Renting" book for NJ. You can look through that and see what recourse you (as a tenant) have. Just email me through my Trulia profile or through my website, below.

It doesn't sound right to me, but without further details, it's hard to say. Please do get the advice of an attorney to help you. I believe in that booklet there are free sources you can reach out to for legal advice. The laws in NJ definately are geared towards helping tenants.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 23, 2009
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