My lease is over April 1. Being I am past due on rent and planned to move I asked the landlord to apply my sec. dep. towards rent owed and make arrangements for balance. I also said Id be out during the first week of April,but I now realize I may need more time than that. Two days ago the landlord calls and says on April 1st, she is coming with the Sheriff to lock me out of the apartment, whether my items are out or not, so that I cannot get back in. From what I know, even if a lease is expired, it converts to a month to month basis and the tenant can stay until evicted. The landlord said because I was 90 days past due, this is void. I have not received any court summons, or notices, yet she says she can legally come with a sheriff and do a LOCKOUT. Can she legally kick me out like this?
Real Estate Attorney
New Jersey law prohibits self-help evictions, which is what your landlord is threatening. Without a special court order, called a"warrant for removal", no sheriff will assist her in locking you out of your apartment, but should she try to lock you out on her own anyway, she could be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense, You must be provided a copy of this warrant for removal at least three days before the scheduled lockout. Should your landlord try to lock you out, you should call the police, who are required to prevent the landlord from completing the lockout and to charge the landlord with the violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-11.1. There is one more piece of information you need to be aware of: while New Jersey's Anti-Eviction Law usually favors tenants, in the case where a tenant has notified the landlord of his intention to vacate the premises but then realizes he needs more time before moving out, the landlord may be entitled to DOUBLE the monthly rent until you do move out. Therefore, you will need to weigh your options very carefully. I hope this helps to clarify your rights and obligations.
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The landlord needs to take you to court to evict you and can not evict you without a court order.
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