I live in a large house that is also occupied by the landlord. I have discovered many of my personal items missing, such as a set of chef's knives, silverware, quite a few kitchen items that are gone. Small items, but maybe $200 total. I also had a new couch ($750) that was placed in the living room for general use by the household. The landlord moved the couch into his bedroom without asking permission or even informing me, and the couch was destroyed by his cats live in the bedroom. I have had personal items turn up missing from my room after a contractor had unsupervised access. Is the landlord responsible for damages and theft of my property?
Real Estate Attorney
The question is not whether the Landlord is responsible for the damage or the missing items but whether you could prove to a small claims judge that the Landlord is responsible. You should try to document whatever you can with pictures or letters to the Landlord with the purpose of memorializing events that transpired (or that you think transpired). Also try to obtain witnesses who may be able to help you in a small claims action by testifying against the Landlord. If individuals are not able to testify in a small claims action on your behalf, you should obtain sworn declarations which support your case.
This answer should not be considered legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. You should hire an attorney in NJ to help you with your issue.