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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10215
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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​Subject: Landlord/Tenant - State: NJ It's my understanding

Customer Question

​Subject: Landlord/Tenant - State: NJ
It's my understanding that under New Jersey State law a landlord is required to put a security deposit that he has received from a tenant (me) in a bank account and provide written notice to the tenant within 30 days of the name and address of the bank in which the money was deposited. The lease I signed itself has a section that says that the landlord must and will do this, and it even goes further stating that the landlord will include the account number. My landlord didn't do this, however. The lease does state that the security deposit will be placed in Bank of America, but it does not give an account number or the address of a bank. From what I've researched, it seems that if I send him a letter requesting this information now and he failed to provide it, then I can direct him to use the security deposit to pay my last month's rent (which I owe). I'm pretty sure my landlord did not put the security deposit in a bank account, but if I send him a letter requesting the name, address, and account number of the bank in which the money is deposited, I'm sure he will figure out what I'm up to, deposit cash into some account, and claim it is the security deposit I gave him. My question is, therefore, does it matter whether my landlord deposited the money immediately after I gave it to him, or can he deposit it now (3 years after the lease was signed) and still meet his legal obligation?
If I send this letter requesting this info. does that at least buy me an extra thirty days to pay the rent, as I wait for a reply?
Secondly, as I said already, I have not yet paid this month's rent, which is also my last. (I moved earlier this month after giving my landlord 45-day notice of my desire to terminate the lease.) Yesterday, my landlord sent me a "Notice to Pay Late Rent" in which he says that I have 3 days to pay the outstanding rent, and if don't, according to the notice, I must remove my belongings from the apartment and will be responsible for attorney fees and costs, should he decide to proceed with legal action to recover the rent, along with any costs he may incur from removing my possessions from the apartment. I've read the lease several times, and I see nothing that says that I must remove my property from the premises within 3 days after I receive notice that the rent is late. I've always intended to pay him the rent as soon as I came up with the money, but I've also been operating under the assumption that I have until July 1st to remove everything from the apartment. My question: Is he able to set a three-day limit for me to pay rent? Can he direct me to vacate the apartment after the three-day period, even thought that's before the end of the month? The way I see it, if I rush to remove my property before the 27th, I'll owe a full month's rent for an apartment I was only allowed to occupy for less than a month.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I would like to assist you today.

I will address the most pressing issue first. You have received a "3 day notice to pay or quit" - this is because you have not paid your rent. If you do not pay your rent, or you do not vacate the unit within 3 days, your landlord will file an unlawful detainer action against you (and they will win).

You cannot pay rent at the end of the month simply because it is the last month.

With regard to the security deposit account information, you are correct regarding the breach of lease with regard to the account information, the landlord does owe you this. But you cannot expect this to save you from having to pay your last month's rent. The time to use this is early in the lease agreement, not when you are having a dispute over non-payment of your last month's rent.

The statute gives your landlord the opportunity to cure this, so you must both send your landlord a demand for the information, and receive a response. All of this is going to take longer than 3 days, and the landlord will reasonably have filed the unlawful detainer (eviction) action long before that happens.

If you cannot pay your rent, and you cannot move out, contact your landlord and see if you can reach a settlement with them, but understand they have a right to payment or a right to their property.

Once they file their unlawful detainer against you, it will create a permanent public record of an unlawful detainer against you, this makes it more difficult to rent another property in the future (landlords that do public records searches will see this, and some refuse to rent to tenants that have had a UD action regardless of the outcome).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Bill,I understand that he is entitled to the rent, and I still intend to pay him in full. Perhaps I made the question too complicated. I am wondering if he has the right to set a three day deadline, and to say that if we do not pay or vacate within three days, that we are responsible for the costs of removing what remains of our property from the premises.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Yes he does. That is what a "3 day notice to pay" means.

If you don't pay your rent on time, the landlord issues a "3 day notice to pay"

Your intent to pay rent at some point in the future does not fulfill your obligation to pay rent on the day specified in your lease (I would guess the first of the month), and you are in breach of contract (your lease agreement).

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