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Old 02-05-2013, 07:48 AM
 
2 posts, read 29,673 times
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i have been living in my apartment since 2007. this year me and my landlord got into it because she is suppose to supply heat and i had no heat for the month of november and december. i decided to call the police because my power also kept shutting off and i maintained heat in my house through electric heater and my oven, this use to be a one family house and she is the only one who can get to the breaker since it is located in her basement. no one answered the door but my kids knew someone was home because they had the music on, which lead me to call the police. in retaliation she now wants me to sign a lease where my rent will be $1500. i am paying $1150. can she raise me by $350???? Please help.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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If you are living in an owner-occupied house she can most likely raise your rent any amount she likes. However, to be sure that is the case you should contact the town or city you live in to see if there are any ordinances that address rent increases, but even if there are they usually only apply to apartment buildings. Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnp292 View Post
If you are living in an owner-occupied house she can most likely raise your rent any amount she likes. However, to be sure that is the case you should contact the town or city you live in to see if there are any ordinances that address rent increases, but even if there are they usually only apply to apartment buildings. Good luck.

I concur completely with that advice, but I have to wonder...
Considering the circumstances that you have had to endure in this apartment, why would you even want to remain there?

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Old 02-05-2013, 09:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retriever View Post
I concur completely with that advice, but I have to wonder...
Considering the circumstances that you have had to endure in this apartment, why would you even want to remain there?

Yes - and I'm sure it's illegal to not provide heat to a tenant who's paying for it. Do research, make sure that's the case and then threaten this scum-lord with a trip to court.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 AM
 
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Yes i am getting some legal advise. Thank you all for your feedback......
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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Yeah -- you can definitely sue to get your money back for the 2 months without heat.

NJ law requires a landlord to provide their tenant(s) with an oven, electric, and heat.

Also, in terms of raising the rent, check out this site:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encycloped...ent-rules.html
Rent Increases as Retaliation or Discrimination

New Jersey landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race. Also, New Jersey landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against you for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to your legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:55 PM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 18 days ago)
 
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Seeking legal advice is ultimately the best advice. In general though...

When it comes to rent increases, the first place to check is any local ordinances. Many towns have provisions governing exactly how much rent can be increased from year-to-year, generally a percentage. Absent that a landlord can technically do what they want as long as the increase cannot be considered "excessive". The issue there is that "excessive" is relative and will often simply come down to the landlord being able to prove the necessity of the increase and that can be as simple as proving that the new rent is commenserate with current market rates. These arguments almost always end up in front of a judge and many times the judges side with the landlords as long as they can provide some amount of proof/reason. The entire situation is also dedicated by the exact setup. If you are renting a portion or unit in an otherwise owner-occupied building, there are different rules then if it was a complex or if the landlord has multiple properties or just a couple. The most landlord friendly setup is them renting out a portion of a dwelling they occupy.

The heat issue falls under the "right of habitability". The landlord has an obligation to maintain the unit in habitable condition. Failure to do so allows the tenant to take certain actions. First, the tenant must inform the landlord of the defect in writing. They must then allow adequate time for the landlord to make a repair. Failing that, the tenants next action should be to elevate the issue to the local housing inspectors/authority. From there, if the issue remains unsolved (though a tenant can take these actions anytime once initial written notice of the issue is given and adequate response time has elapsed) the tenant basically has three options:

1. Make the needed repairs to restore habitability and deduct the cost from rent payments.

2. Withold payment of rent by placing the rent payments in a holding account and holding them until the landlord makes the repairs at which time the tenant must release the escrowed money. This step is best done with the guidance of an attorney or tenant advocacy group.

3. Begin the process of "constructive eviction" where the tenant cancels the lease do to the condition of the property at which time they are do any security deposits and may not be held accountable for any remaining lease payments or re-rental fees once they vacate.

Unfortunately, in the OP's case, assuming the landlord has repaired the heat, there is no way to sue the landlord over that past issue. All remedies are basically predicated on the tenant rectifying a present situation themselves, forcing the landlord to do so or allowing the tenant to break the lease. Once the present condition is rectified, there is no recourse for the tenant.

So, that's it in a nutshell. Professional legal advice is the way to go, of course, but if the situation with the heat has been rectified, I don't see any legal recourse. Same deal with the rent increase unless there are local laws. Even then arguing an excessive rent increase will only net you down to a non-excessive rate, there are no damages awarded. Ultimately, the best advice would be to just move as the situation has already moved into more hostile territory.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:00 PM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 18 days ago)
 
13,669 posts, read 17,522,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by focus282 View Post
Yeah -- you can definitively sue to get your money back for the 2 months without heat.

NJ law requires a landlord to provide their tenant(s) with an oven, electric, and heat.
No, you cannot. The legal remedies for that situation are all predicated on taking certain steps while the situation exists, not taking action after it has been corrected. The actions available are; For the tenant to repair it themselves and deduct the cost from their rent. Withold rent by placing it into an escrow account until the situation is corrected at which time all rent money's must be paid to the landlord. Initiating a "constructive eviction" to cancel the lease and vacate the property without penalty. Regardless a tenant is always responsible for the rent owed on the property while they occupy it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:07 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Garden State
2,118 posts, read 1,386,671 times
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You need to move as soon as possible. I had landlords like that -- no heat, rodent infestation, flooded basement, etc. -- these people are not going to change.

Unfortunately many landlords in New Jersey view their job as getting people to pay high rents and making absolutely no repairs whatsoever. They get away with it, too.

Just get out of there while you can!
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:14 PM
 
208 posts, read 303,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
No, you cannot. The legal remedies for that situation are all predicated on taking certain steps while the situation exists, not taking action after it has been corrected. The actions available are; For the tenant to repair it themselves and deduct the cost from their rent. Withold rent by placing it into an escrow account until the situation is corrected at which time all rent money's must be paid to the landlord. Initiating a "constructive eviction" to cancel the lease and vacate the property without penalty. Regardless a tenant is always responsible for the rent owed on the property while they occupy it.
I would be surprised that the OP can't fight for this. Almost all things can be pro-rated. For example, if you have no cable service for 4 days, your cable provider must pro-rate your monthly bill to take this into account -- same with gas, electric, etc.

No service = no charge. If the property was inhabitable, then the OP should have a legal right to get credit towards this. I wonder if the OP was forced to stay in a hotel, that those hotel bills could be submitted for payment by the landlord. At least in theory. Though "law" and theory" are often two different things...
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