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Gerald-Esquire
Gerald-Esquire, Other
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2885
Experience:  30 Years of experience.
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We are moving out from our current apt at the end of

Customer Question

We are moving out from our current apt at the end of September in NJ. Our landlord just started showing the apt. We have a dog and personal belongs in the apt, so I don't want people to go inside the apt when we are not around with the dog and our belongs.
The problem is that we are very busy, our schedules changes rapidly, and the only time we will be at home is early in the morning or late at night. And we only have a few hour availability on Sunday afternoon. The landlord has a person to show the apt to potential
tenant and he is asking if he can show it when we are not home. The landlord is not happy, because the time we gave to him is not "reasonable" according to him. ( like before 8am, between 8:30pm-10pm on some weekdays and 3pm-5pm on Sunday.) He said the dog
is our responsibility and he accommodated us to have a dog without charging a pet fee. According to our lease, he needs to notify us before he wants to show it to potential tenants, but he doesn't need to follow our schedule. The original words are "The Landlord
may show the House to rental applicants at reasonable hours on notice to the Tenant within 2 months before the end of the lease term. " In this case, do I have the right to say no to landlord? Does he have the right to show the apt when I am not home? Is there
a range on the "reasonable hours"? If as a result of schedule, the landlord can't find a tenant, are we responsible for the Oct. rent?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.
I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.
The good news first: You are not responsible for the rent after the date you stated in your notice that you would vacate the property. So NO to your last question, you are not liable for the October rent.
The bad news is that the law allows the landlord to enter your premises with out you being there so long as he provides you notice he is going to do so under the law and the lease. (Usually 24 hours notice).
Once he provides Notice he can enter at "reasonable times." The law does not specifically define what "reasonable" means. Generally, it will be construed to mean from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. but that is just a rule of thumb and the court may adjust it if circumstances dictate. The problem here is that you will not be going to court over this issue.
You can tell your landlord NO if you have a particular circumstance that dictates that. For example you are planning to have company at the time he wants to show the property. But a general "it is not a good time for us" will not suffice.
Also it is your responsibility to secure the dog if you are not going to be there. You may also want to put a sign out that there is a dog on the premises, in case the landlord forgets to tell the potential new tenant.
This guide will provide you some useful information. Look on page 21:
http://www.lsnjlaw.org/publications/pages/manuals/tenantsrights.pdf
Finally, some points not raised by your question. Take a lot of Photographs of the condition of the place when you leave. (If some of the picture show you cleaning the place that is a good thing.) Make sure you do a walk through with the landlord, and document any damage that was previously there.
If the landlord tries to with hold your security deposit be prepared to go to small claims court, and have the above evidence ready.
I hope the information I have provided is useful to you. I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.
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Good luck.
Please note: Information is educational and not given as legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I am not liable for the Oct rent even if I don't let the landlord (or his representative who is the building's maintenance lady) show prospects the apartment, then if I only return the apt in a good/original condition I can get my whole deposit back. Am I right?
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.
Hello:
Thank you for the follow up questions.
Yes, you are correct, he can not hold you liable for the October rent if you have provided proper notice and move out consistent with that notice. His entry into the apartment is not relevant to that.
You are also correct that he can not with hold your security simply because he was unable to show the apartment.
If he with holds the security you may sue him in small claims court. If you win you may be able to obtain triple damages, depending on the rules in your particular state.
I hope this additional information is helpful to you.
(Please do not forget to rate me. It adds nothing to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Thank you.)
Good luck.
Kind regards,
Gerald
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I thought that NJ is one of those states that the tenants are obligated to let the landlord show the apartment if in the lease it states that the landlord has the right to show the apartment to rental prospects. Am I right?
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.
Hello:
Thank you for the follow up question.
Yes, the landlord has a right to show the property at reasonable times and with reasonable notice. BUT you are not liable for an additional month's rent nor can he with hold your security deposit simply because the two of you could not come to an agreement as to a time to show the property.
Likewise, if he gives notice to you that he is showing the property, and he enters the property for that purpose, he is not liable to you for that showing.
It is a situation where you both have legal rights, but the practicalities limit the remedies available to either of you.
I hope this additional information is helpful to you.
(Please do not forget to rate me. It adds nothing to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Thank you.)
Good luck.
Kind regards,
Gerald
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I have the right not to let the landlord come in at all and still not be liable for the fact that he could not have the place rented for the month following our move out because he could not show the place?
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.
Hello:
Thank you for the additional question.
It is not as simple as that. You have a contract that allows him entry under certain circumstance.
If you out and out refuse to let him in at all he theoretically would have a claim for your breach of the terms of the contract. The contract provides that he has a right of entry at reasonable times and with reasonable notice.
If you are so blatant in your refusal to appear unreasonable then a magistrate could find that you have breached your agreement.
If you are smart and cooperative, but just can't seem to find a mutually agreeable time, then that is different; isn't it?
But in either case, the landlord just can not decide on his own that you breached this term and keep your money. He would have to sue you for any alleged damages. That is difficult because he has to do everything a certain way in order to make his case.
He would have to send you a written notice of entry, then a written demand that you allow entry, then he would have to notify you that he plans to sue you. He would have to prove to a magistrate that you intentionally denied him access, and then he would have to prove that he lost a rental and had damages (lost rental income).
That is a lot of time, effort, and work to do all that. Most landlord's won't bother.
He might try to with hold your security, but the circumstance you describe is not a valid reason to do so. So in that case you would sue for improper with holding of security. If you prove it was improper you could be awarded treble damages.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is considered reasonable notice to show the apartment
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.
Hello:
Usually 24 hours is considered reasonable. Given you must make arrangements for your pet to be secured, at least 24 hours would be appropriate.
I hope this additional information is helpful to you.
Kind regards,
Gerald
(Please do not forget to rate me. It adds nothing additional to your costs, but it helps me greatly. Plus it is good Karma for you. Thank you.)

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