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Landlord Tenant Issues Involving Security Deposit, Late Fees and other

Clifton, NJ |

I've lived in a two family, owner-occupied home for several years ago. We never had notice of the location of our security, nor have we received yearly interest statements or payments. We gave landlord written notice under the Rent Security Deposit Act that we were using our security and permitted interest to our rent. He says he looked into it and we're not entitled to apply the interest because it's owner-occupied. He's refusing to accept the security deposit as rent and has now given us a notice to quit for failure to pay rent. Please clarify. We have been paying cash but haven't received a receipt in over a year. He wants late fees for last year. First year was a lease; month to month since then. Is landlord entitled to late fees if demand is not in writing? Are they statutory?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You should consult with an attorney about these issues, as owner-occupied premises do have special considerations under New Jersey Law. That being said, I'm unaware of any section of the Rent Security Deposit Act which permits an owner-occupier to either not deposit the security deposit in a properly-chartered bank, or excuses the her from providing tenants with written notice of where the money is deposited.

As far as late charges or other arrears go, your LL's going to have to prove the losses and you may be able to argue he waived late fees by ratification if there's been sufficient time.

Good luck

The foregoing is not legal advice, and nothing in the foregoing shall be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. If you feel you need to speak with an attorney regarding your issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney with expertise in your area of inquiry. The information related above is purely for informational purposes, and should not be acted upon without speaking with qualified counsel familiar with you specific situation and the laws related thereto.

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much. I read the Tenant Guide and was unable to be 100% clear the subject as to the permitted per-year interest that can be applied. We have no idea what happened to the security and even after we gave the letter, it was not explained. I am disturbed at the refusal to accept our rights under the Rent Security Deposit act and say that we are being given notice because we owe rent. Also, if late fees are permitted by law without a written lease, how are the amounts determined? Presently, there is no arrearage; we are current through March 2013 with the possible exception of the applied interest issue. If it determined that we cannot apply the 7% interest the security deposit for each year that there has been no notice or interest, we will correct it. At this point, we have no way of knowing what interest we would have received had the security deposit been handled in accordance with the law.

Posted

I agree with Mr. Keppler. Your LL was supposed to deposit the funds and you were entitled to interest on your money. Further, your LL was required to apply your deposit to the outstanding rent. As for the late fees, the LL will be required to prove that same are called for in the lease and that you infect paid the rent late. Good luck.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you so much. It does make me feel a bit better knowing that I wasn't wrong. Sad thing is, we are being retaliated against. Instead of just giving us a notice to quit, the reason he put in writing is failure to pay rent, which isn't true. I provided the proper notice of the application of the security deposit by certified mail. Retaliation is one of the reasons we didn't report other things here to building and code officials but that's another topic. Thank you again.

Posted

I agree with the other two counsel. While the LL may be exempt from some provisions of the anti eviction act, he needs to comply with the rent security act. You are entitled to have the security applied to the rent. He has waived his right to late fees by accepting the rent.

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much. Sadly, the landlord refuses to accept the application of the security as rent and has given us a notice to quit, saying we owe rent, which simply isn't true and we are being retaliated against in other ways.

Matthew R Schutz

Matthew R Schutz

Posted

Did you preserve a copy of the notice and proof of delivery? Asuuming you did when you go to court present them and point out to the court the LLis in default of the provisions of the rent security act. under the statute, you are entitled to use the security for rent.

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