Watch the Clock: NJ Security Deposit Law Requires Strict Compliance
The NJ Security Deposit Law requires strict time compliance. Failure to follow the law's strict time requirements can expose landlord's to significant liability.
Landlord's Have 30 Days To Make Allowed Deductions & Notice TenantsNew Jersey's Security Deposit Law requires that within thirty days after the termination of a tenancy, the landlord must return by personal delivery, registered or certified mail the deposit plus the tenant's portion of the interest/earnings accumulated, less any lawful deductions in accordance with the Lease. In Kang v. Re/Max Fortune Properties, Inc, 338 N.J. Super.534, the Court held that even where a landlord returned the amount due to tenant five days after the thirty day requirement, the tenant was entitled to the remedy provided by the statute. Kang can stand for the proposition that "substantial compliance" or "good faith" is not a defense to a security deposit violation case.
Violation of the Security Deposit Law Triggers Double DamagesViolate the Security Deposit Law in any way, are you are subject to double the deposit plus attorney's fees. It is imperative that a landlord strictly comply with each and every requirement of the law. Although the law requires strict compliance, the calculation of damages owed to the tenant is not strictly double the security deposit. Another post will explain that the doubling applies only to the amount "wrongfully withheld." But, a diligent landlord can avoid calculating any damages in the first place.