Guest or co-tenant? Which is it?
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.
Are you paying for the space? If you're paying for the space, you're entitled to a number of things, the least of which is a key. If you're not paying for the space, you're a guest and subject to the whims of your host for the most part.
If you're living in another person's apartment on the basis of their good graces and nothing else, you should find a more-stable living situation if possible. If not (and times are tough out there) you need to be able to come and go as your life requires, and not have to worry about being locked out when you need to get in (or having to leave the place unlocked when you leave).
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.
Several questions need to answered. Do you have a lease or pay rent? Assuming either answer is yes, you have a rental. NJ lawmakes lock outs illegal and subject the LL to both civil and criminal penalties. While lock outs are illegal, it does not neccessarily mean the LL will conform his behavior therewith.