what do you do when your landlord is not on the up and up?

Asked by Julie, Brick, NJ Wed Dec 10, 2008

He is very well known and liked in the community, possibly politically connected. However as a tenant of his, he has threatened to raise my rent if im not cooperative. Has spoken to me of my infertilty issues (which are personal), has walked into my home through the back door, has lied to me and talks down to all woman as if we are second class citizens or worse, as if what we say or think doesnt matter!! So how does one protect herself from this money hungry vulture who wants everything he can get and not fix or replace anything properly, and keep on living a life where i am not affraid of my landlord. I really do not want to move I love where I live and my neighbors are great. I just want to protect myself!

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Tony Emanueli, Agent, Wall, NJ
Wed May 15, 2013
When you signed your Lease you should have been given a "Truth in Renting " book .it has all of your rights.
0 votes
Abu Musa, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Nov 10, 2012
You may talk to a lawyer. Also you may talk to the local the local police station.
0 votes
Kenneth Verb…, Agent, PRINCETON, NJ
Thu Dec 11, 2008
Easiest answer is move (give him required notice and get out) This may not be easy or quick though so in the meantime document everything in emails, pictures,certified letters and keep a diary. You have rights as agents have indicated, but so does he. (coming in unannounced because he "smells smoke" or some similar line may be perfectly understandable ) Not making repairs that you have not documented could also be excused. What does" cooperative" mean?? Try speaking with your neighbors, perhaps they have some insights as to his actions with prior tenants. If you feel unsafe, again, get out.
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Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Thu Dec 11, 2008
As a tenant in NJ, you have extensive rights. These are outlined in the booklet, "truth in renting" I can send you a copy, if you'd like. Just contact me via trulia or my website.

I am not a lawyer, and cannot give you legal advice, but I am a landlord. My understanding of the landlord tenant laws based on information provided in the truth in renting book is as follows:
A landlord cannot threaten to raise your rent. Depending on your lease, there is a timeframe when he has to present a new lease to you. He can raise the rent, but it must be within a reasonable amount--nothing above market standards.
A landlord cannot enter your premises without 24 hour notice unless there is an emergency in the apt.
As far as the fixing and repairing goes, you do have ways to make him do the work needed for your comfort and enjoyment in the apt. Depending on the nature of the repairs needed, you can withold rent money until he gets the work done, or have the work done and deduct it from your rent.
The rest of his actions do not appear to be illegal. You will have to deal with him as you would anyone who you didn't like--stay away from him.

My recommendation to you, since you say you do not want to move, is to get a copy of this booklet, make a copy for yourself, and give your landlord one as well. If he knows you are knowledgable about landlord tenant law in NJ, maybe he will start to follow the laws set up to protect tenants. If he doesn't and continues to harass you, then get yourself a good landlord tenant attorney.
Web Reference:  http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes
Pat Settar, Agent, Mullica Hill, NJ
Wed Dec 10, 2008
Wow, that is a very difficult situation and an unacceptable one. Tenants have rights, please protect yourself and learn them. All request made to your landlord must be in writing and sent certified return receipt requested. Please review your lease, does it state that he has permission to enter whenever the heck he feels like it? If not, please put it in writing to him that your lease does not permit an open door policy. He must give you notice. Additionally, if the repairs that you are requesting are not addressed after your request in writing; please send another certified letter stating that you will have it repaired and then deducted from the rent. If you pay ontime and obey all other tenant laws you will have much more of a leg to stand on should you end up in court. As far as raising the rent, again go back to your lease. And if you don't have one, get one!
Check out this site: Renters Rights Resource Center
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Dec 10, 2008
Kim, I agree - this fellow sounds like someone you should get away from - I'd suggest you begin the process of looking for a more suitable housing situation.

If things are untenable before then, I'd talk with an attorney about your rights.

But in the end, life is too short to deal with a creep like you've described - I'd get busy looking for a new place so that when your lease term ends, you are ready to move on.

Good luck,
Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com

PS - Just to keep you smiling - maybe there is a place in Chicago politics for your "friend" ;-)
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Joan Prout, , Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Dec 10, 2008
I've posted a link to a very informative publication that the State of NJ provides. I'm not sure it covers some of the problems you mention, though. It sounds to me like moving would be your best option.

Joan Prout, MBA
Broker Associate
306 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
201-946-2700 x310
800-671-0596 x1 (direct)
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