Below are answers to the most common landlord-tenant questions we receive. If you have questions about a tenant or landlord situation, contact our office to schedule a consultation. 

Q: What is a landlord registration statement? 

A: A landlord is required to file a registration statement with the local municipality where the property is located, for two or fewer units. If the building has three or more units, the landlord is required to register with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

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Q: How much security am I allowed to collect from my tenant? 

A: In residential tenancies where the landlord owns three or more units the maximum security deposit is 1.5x rent. The Security Deposit Act does not apply to residential tenancies where there are two or fewer units in the building unless the tenant formally requests that the Security Deposit Act apply.

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Q: Does the landlord have to provide me with notice of where my Security Deposit is being held?

A: Yes. Your landlord must notify you within 30 days of making the security deposit of the name and address of the bank and the interest rate that is being earned upon the money.

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Q: What happens if I do not pay my rent?

A: If you do not pay your rent on time, the landlord may file a complaint for eviction. If you do not pay the full amount of the rent plus any fees allowed as additional rent under the terms of the lease you will be evicted.

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Q: What is a Notice to Cease?

A: This is a warning from the landlord advising you to stop certain conduct.  A Notice to Cease is required to be served upon the tenant prior to filing an eviction action. The tenant has a reasonable opportunity to cure the defect. However, failure to cure the defect may result in the landlord serving a Notice to Quit.

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Q: What is a Notice to Quit/ Demand for Possession?

A:  A notice to quit is a final notice that the complained about condition in the Notice to Cease was not cured and so the lease is terminated, and the landlord demands possession of the property.

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Q: What happens if I breach any  of the rules or regulations of the lease?

A: Upon a breach of the lease the landlord may serve the tenant with a Notice to Cease. If the conduct continues after the Notice to Cease has been served the landlord can serve a notice to quit and demand for possession requiring that the tenant vacate the property by a certain date or the landlord may file for eviction.

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Q: What happens if I pay my rent late?

A: If you fail to pay your rent timely you may be required to pay a late fee as additional rent if set forth in your lease. Failure to pay all of the rent due and owing including additional rent fees, such as late fees may result in your eviction. Habitual late payment of rent may also be grounds to evict.

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Q: My landlord won’t make repairs to the property do I have to pay the rent?

A: A tenant is entitled to notify the landlord of repairs needed which affect the habitability of the apartment. Notice should be provided to the landlord pursuant to the terms of the lease. If the tenant fails to make payment, the tenant can raise a defense of habitability, however they will be required to deposit all of the rent due and owing into court in order for a habitability hearing to be scheduled.

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Q: My landlord is selling the building and the contract requires that I vacate. Do I have to leave?

A: Notice can only be served upon the tenant once all of the conditions of the sale of the property have been met including satisfaction of the mortgage contingency and inspection contingency.  Once the contract is binding against the landlord the notice can be served against the tenant informing them to vacate the property on a date certain.

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Q: Can a judge require a landlord to enter into a payment arrangement with me so that I can become current on my rent?

A: No, a judge cannot force a landlord to accept payment on past due rent. However, in many cases landlords will accept partial payments by consent at mediation.

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Q: I live in a basement apartment and received notice from the town that I have to move what do I do?

A: Upon being served with a complaint for eviction you should obtain the relevant documents from the township evidencing that it is an illegal apartment. When you go to court you can raise the illegality of the apartment as a defense and seek relocation assistance prior to the entry of a judgment possession.

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