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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 26059
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
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The place I rent was not painted or carpets replaced when I

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The place I rent was not painted or carpets replaced when I moved in. I gave landlord 90 day notice that I was moving out, and she scheduled an inspection and showing the week after. Her property manager came through with her that Sunday. I left the house with my dogs to accommodate the possible showing. Two days later I got an email from her property manager, saying that house was unshowable and needed repair and cleaning. The day before landlord and her fiancee walked through the entire place and were very pleased. I feel a hostile approach to keep my deposit of $1,650 here. I have had a great report with the actual landlord, always paid on time, home is kept impeccable clean and I own really good furniture, and mow the land weekly! What are my options?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Your options are to demand the return of your deposit...and if they refuse, you can sue them to recover

What you describe, if the landlord does not return your deposit, you can sue them and force them to.

The law is clear. It provides

Within 30 days after the termination of the tenant's lease or licensee's agreement, the owner
or lessee shall return by personal delivery, registered or certified mail the sum so deposited plus
the tenant's portion of the interest or earnings accumulated thereon, less any charges expended in
accordance with the terms of a contract, lease, or agreement, to the tenant or licensee, or, in the
case of a lease terminated pursuant to P.L.1971, c.318 (C.46:8-9.1)

So they have to return your deposit, within 30 days unless they can prove "damages"

So, for example, if you left the property damaged, and they must pay to repair? They can charge you for that. Same for cleaning.

But what you describe? It sounds like you had a "check out" and passed that? If so, unless there is some undiscovered discrepancy, you are good...they can not keep your deposit...by law they are required to return and if they do not? You can sue them to force this issue

You can use small claims court for this action. Small claims court is often a great option since you can act as your own lawyer (and save that expense). The formal rules of evidence and procedure do not apply...it is truly a "peoples court"

You have to file in the county where the home was located...if you contact the clerk of the court they can provide the forms you need.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne: if they refuse to return your money? Small claims court can be used to force this issue





Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your prompt response. I passed the inspection on a Saturday with the landlord. On Sunday, she showed up with the person who lists the property and coordinates the lease. This lady was the one who sent me the email saying the place was "unshowable", and that "they forced to not list the home" because of it. In addition, she stated that the landlord would be in touch and there will be another showing in 7 days, and she had to contract cleaning company, in would be charged. The home is kept beatifully, but it is old and needs a lot of repairs. When I moved in, I fixed drawers and cabinets, and even had to re hook the drier to the gas pipe, but I made no issue about it. All doors have scratches from the landlord's cats, carpet is old and dirty, was supposed to be replaced, but the handyman was not reachable. There was no checklist completed upon moving in, and I am concerned that they will try to charge me with doors that need to be replaced, carpets, etc. The repairs and cleaning needs described in the property manager email were never listed or clarified. Can I request a walk through with the landlord again for clarification? She was very nice, the problem is the property manager, and her curt and rather rude approach. They also moved my furtniture around while they were at the home, re arranged my belongings and threw away college papers that were on my dining table. Since then, I just want to move out, and feel the stress of having to be concerned about the fight to get my deposit back, after maintaining the home in really good shape. I don't want to be the one to "starts trouble" with the landlord, but her property manager is already trying to line up a scheme to keep my hard earned money.
I am settling on my new home next week, and I was going to try and move slowly since I have another 60 days on the lease, but nos I can't wait to leave this rental because of these circumstances. Is this a case to claim hostility or violation of the implied warranty of habitability?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.
It is not implied warranty of habitability...that is a claim where you rent a home and it is not livable.

"hostility" is not a recognizable tort claim.

But it COULD be a case of "tortious interference with contract". This case arises when a third parties actions are designed to interfere with a contractional relationship between two separate parties.

Under NJ Law, if you can show

(1) actual interference with a contract;
(2) that the interference was inflicted intentionally by a defendant who is not a party to the contract;
(3) that the interference was without justification; and
(4) that the interference caused damage.


Then you can file this action

See 214 Corp. v. Casino Reinvestment Dev. Auth., 280 N.J. Super. 624, 628 (Law Div. 1994). See also Russo v. Nagel, 358 N.J. Super. 254, 268 (App. Div. 2003).
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 26059
Experience: 12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
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