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Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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I moved into and apartment on July 14, 2013. Since then I

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Attachment: 2013-10-06_042931_13.doc

Attachment: 2013-10-06_042952_classic_associates_10-05-13.doc

I moved into and apartment on July 14, 2013. Since then I have seen 2 cockroaches in the bathroom of the apartment. I notified the landlord. He had an exterminator spray after the first time. He only sprayed 1 out of 8 units, a pizza shop and a grocery store. After speaking to the exterminator, my fees were confirmed.  He stated that  if a cockroach is seen in one unit  it is likely that all have some level of infestation.  This information was shared with the landlord and he refused to have the other units inspected and have them treated against the advise of the professionals.  I saw another cockroach in the same location a few weeks later.  When I called the landlord he and his wife had me on speaker phone while they were driving in the car. I was explaining how upset I was and that wanted something done about the issue. The wife began shouting that they would do nothing further and if I didn't like it then I should leave.  Naturally, not only do I not like living with cockroaches, I don't like being shouted at either. So I moved. I sent a certified letter to the landlord explaining that I would be vacating under the circumstances. I have not heard a response yet or received the signed receipt of the letter.  I left a voicemail for the landlord today to notify him that I have vacated and where to forward my security deposit. Does he, in fact have to give me my security deposit back even though the lease has been broken? In addition, I never received notification of the interest bearing bank account that my security deposit is being held in.  New State law requires a security deposit to be held in an interest bearing account and the bank account information must be provided to the tenant within 30 days. If this is not provided to the tenet, the tenet has the right to request to be paid 7% interest on the amount paid for the security deposit. In addition, in the state of NJ the security deposit must be returned to the tenant within 30 days or the tenant has the right to demand the amount be doubled. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-19; N.J.S.A. 46:8-19 (c); Delmat v. Kahn, 147 N.J. Super. 293 (App. Div. 1977); N.J.S.A. 46:8-19 (a). What are my rights? What does and does not apply in this situation?

Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma.   I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, finding a cockroach or two would not likely be held as rendering the apartment uninhabitable or being a breach of the lease by the landlord. I understand it is distressing, but I am telling you that if the landlord sues you for breaching the lease, the court is not likely to allow you to terminate the based on the conditions you have described.

The landlord's failure to comply with the security deposit statute would entitle you to the penalties stated as well as preclude the landlord using the deposit. So, the landlord should return the deposit. If the landlord does not return the deposit then you will need to sue them in small claims court. However, note that the statute also states that it may not apply to persons collecting money for less than 10 units.

I realize this is not the answer you were hoping to receive.  Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part.   As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.

It is my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Also, be sure to verify this information with a local attorney who is familiar with your local laws and procedures.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

Loren
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi Loren,


 


Thank you for the information. I forgot about there having to be 10 units. However, does this may still work in my favor if the to businesses below the apartments are included in the 10. I understand that I have only seen 2 cockroaches but everyone knows that where there is 1 there are 1,000. Also, it was more about his lack of efforts to properly remedy the situation as well as the wife telling me that they wouldn't do anything about it and to leave. I also just recently found out that prior to my moving in, the building had burned down and prior to it burning down it was heavily infested with cockroaches.


 


Do I have a leg to stand on? I am a teacher who does not make much and can not afford to loose $1,500.00.


 


Please advise.


 


Thank you,


Samantha

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Hi Samantha,

I do not see an exception for commercial tenants being excluded from the total. It only refers to money deposited as "security for ...a lease..." So, that weighs in your favor regarding the security deposit.

Unfortunately, while roaches do tend to be hidden, I still do not think you would prevail on the issue as grounds to terminate the lease for infestation or failure to take action.

On the other hand, work with what you have and, if the roach issue is all, pound it. Ultimately, you will, likely, end up settling with your landlord.

I know this is not what you were hoping for and I apologize for being the bearer of bad news, but you need accurate information and opinion in this matter.

Thank you.

Loren
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi Loren,


Thank your for the additional information. Did you have a chance to review the letters that I attached in the original posting? I have already sent the first one and I am hoping that you can advise me on the second letter before I send it off tomorrow.


Thank you,


Samantha

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Hi Samantha,

Yes, I have looked at your letter and it is well written. As I said earlier, I do not feel that your infestation issue is a strong defense to a breach of the lease, it is all you really have to use and your letters present that as well as you can.

I also like that you demand your security deposit.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Thank you.

Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20271
Experience: 30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
Loren and 6 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for all of your help!

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Format error
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you. Let me know if you need more help or have future questions. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name at the start of your question - "Loren" or use the following link (which you can bookmark in your browser):  http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-Loren/
          

Best wishes and good luck to you.

If it is not too much trouble, Samantha, when you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JA/Pearl in a day or two, please consider rating me highly (9 or 10). It affects my ability to continue to assist you and other customers on JA/Pearl and would be most appreciated.  
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I am happy to provide you with the highest ratings on the upcoming survey. Thank you for the well wishes, professional advice and support in the future if need be.


 


Best regards,


Samantha

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Thank you.

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