I was supposed to move into an apt that I found through a realtor company. When I went to view the apt there was a tenant already living there (owner’s daughter) and it was a mess. I told realtor and owner that I did like the apt initially but it had to be cleaned, painted and fresh carpets because previous tenant had pets and you could smell pet urine and tenant was just not clean. I was told that I had to leave a security deposit in order to hold the apt. I said I would not sign a lease until I do a walk thru. So I gave 1000 realtor fee and 1000 security deposit. When I returned back to apt to do a final walk thru before I signed the lease the first thing that hit was the stench of animal urine even stronger. The apt smelled even worst and not to mention the shabby paint job. I told the owner to come and smell it he stated that there had been garbage left in apt for two weeks. I told him what about the smell of urine that has somehow been masked deep in the carpets and got disturbed upon trying to clean them. I guess he was immune to odor because he and a pet also. Not to mention the abandon car and garbage out front that wasn’t there when I first looked at place. To make a long story short the realtor stated that the owner does not want to return my deposit nor do I get the money I paid the realtor. I was told by realtor to avoid court they would try and rent apt and I would get my security back and they would continue to look for me an apartment. They did finally by some miracle find someone to rent it now they’re telling me that landlord still doesn’t want to give me my money. What are my rights?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
You need to file an action. Depending on the amount owed (over or under $5,000.00) you may be able to file in small claims or you may need to file in the Special Civil part If the latter get counsel. You may also be entitled to punative damages for the wrongful withholding of the security.
You probably need to file in Landlord/Tenant court Special Civil Part. You can probably do this without retaining a lawyer. Check out the faqs and forms at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/index.htm#spec (particularly the ones under the heading "Landlord-Tenant Court")