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Old 12-16-2009, 07:00 PM
 
1 posts, read 7,560 times
Reputation: 10
I have a question please. i am disabled on SS. I just found this forum and not sure if I am posting correctly, sorry! My landlord never told me where my security deposit is or given me interest, i understand the law is now he has to pay the interest once a year and send a notice to me about it, or if banks are changed etc. It is not in the lease, so because of this, non payment of interest yearly and never telling me where my deposit is, i can ask him to use the deposit plus seven percent of it, toward back or future rent? Is this so? i read somewhere that is law, and if he does not do that I can use it and dont have to replace it. What I am confused about is, if i dont send him a certified letter first and give him 30 days to send info to me and interest and it must be correct, then I cant use the deposit and interest for back or future rent if he does supply me in 30 days with all interest, 3 yrs of it, and where the deposit is held, which bank, and I will call the bank make sure it was done at time i paid the deposit 3 yrs ago. I read this on the web, does anyone know if this is so? Went to alot of nj sites and nj law and tenant rights sites. I am also just wondering if , well i have to send him a certified letter about this, and if he does give me the interest he owes me and supplies the bank and the info is up to date and correct, then I cant use the deposit and interest for back or future rent does anyone know? i know i ramble probably not making any sense, sorry! LOL! but does anyone know what I am talking about and the answers? or who I can contact in Somerset county NJ? I can not afford a lawyer to ask this. thank you so much for your time!
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Martinsville, NJ
5,853 posts, read 6,510,792 times
Reputation: 3446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree10 View Post
I have a question please. i am disabled on SS. I just found this forum and not sure if I am posting correctly, sorry! My landlord never told me where my security deposit is or given me interest, i understand the law is now he has to pay the interest once a year and send a notice to me about it, or if banks are changed etc. It is not in the lease, so because of this, non payment of interest yearly and never telling me where my deposit is, i can ask him to use the deposit plus seven percent of it, toward back or future rent? Is this so? i read somewhere that is law, and if he does not do that I can use it and dont have to replace it. What I am confused about is, if i dont send him a certified letter first and give him 30 days to send info to me and interest and it must be correct, then I cant use the deposit and interest for back or future rent if he does supply me in 30 days with all interest, 3 yrs of it, and where the deposit is held, which bank, and I will call the bank make sure it was done at time i paid the deposit 3 yrs ago. I read this on the web, does anyone know if this is so? Went to alot of nj sites and nj law and tenant rights sites. I am also just wondering if , well i have to send him a certified letter about this, and if he does give me the interest he owes me and supplies the bank and the info is up to date and correct, then I cant use the deposit and interest for back or future rent does anyone know? i know i ramble probably not making any sense, sorry! LOL! but does anyone know what I am talking about and the answers? or who I can contact in Somerset county NJ? I can not afford a lawyer to ask this. thank you so much for your time!
If I read that correctly, your landlord for the past three years never notified you of the location or interest rate of your security deposit, and you want to know if you can therefore use that security deposit toward rent. The answer is a qualified Yes.
First, check the lease itself. Many landlords will put the bank info in the lease, as they probably use the same bank for all tenants. This is legal and acceptable notification according to the law. If it is not in the lease, and the landlord has not provided it to you in some other fashion, then you can send a certified letter to the landlord asking for this information and the interest owed to you. If he fails to correctly inform you and pay the interest within 30 days, then you can tell him to use your security deposit toward your rent.
The web site you want is NJRentLaw.com. Here's a link to a summary of this particular segment of the law on that site.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:28 PM
 
177 posts, read 441,683 times
Reputation: 67
I don't trust my landlord either, and I will be moving out in a few months after living here for two years. I've never gotten any indication the security deposit was put into an interest bearing savings account. Also, the apartment has/had many wear and tear issues from the time I moved in, and some things the landlord fixed and others they did not. I have a feeling I will be haggling with them over things like dents in the old hardwood floors due to the pressure of chairs and walls that were repainted (actually from ugly amateur paint jobs to nice colors) so I intend to TELL not ASK that I am using my security deposit as my last month's rent. I doubt they have any leverage to take me to court over anything, and will be willing to fight it out.

My breaker boxes are actually locked in the basement inside another person's apartment, which doesn't seem legal.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:29 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
944 posts, read 1,671,350 times
Reputation: 657
Default Keep the peace

Interest? Have any of you checked out current interest rates on savings deposits? My bank currently pays one-quarter of one-percent on security deposit accounts. That's $3.75 per YEAR on a $1,500.00 deposit. Is this really something you'd want to wage war with your landlord over?

Seems to me like a lot of people posting here are quick to willingly default on their agreements if they can find the right legal loophole. I'd suggest that's part of the problem and not part of the solution. Just pay the rent!

When you move out, your landlord has 30 days in which to send your deposit back or notify you of the reasons (s)he's deducting money from it. If you don't receive it within that time, you can file suit for the money... and demand treble damages! $1500 can become $4500, hence, most landlords don't mess around with this. If you've really been wronged by your landlord, your recourse doesn't get much better than that.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Martinsville, NJ
5,853 posts, read 6,510,792 times
Reputation: 3446
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickDD View Post
Interest? Have any of you checked out current interest rates on savings deposits? My bank currently pays one-quarter of one-percent on security deposit accounts. That's $3.75 per YEAR on a $1,500.00 deposit. Is this really something you'd want to wage war with your landlord over?

Seems to me like a lot of people posting here are quick to willingly default on their agreements if they can find the right legal loophole. I'd suggest that's part of the problem and not part of the solution. Just pay the rent!

When you move out, your landlord has 30 days in which to send your deposit back or notify you of the reasons (s)he's deducting money from it. If you don't receive it within that time, you can file suit for the money... and demand treble damages! $1500 can become $4500, hence, most landlords don't mess around with this. If you've really been wronged by your landlord, your recourse doesn't get much better than that.
The important issue isn't the actual interest. As you point out, that's a miniscule amount theses days. What's important is that the landlord puts it in an account that is set up just for that security deposit money, and doesn't comingle it with his own personal, or other business, funds. If it's not segregated, it may be spent, leving the tenant without the ability to get it back when the lease is up. That's why the law, at least here in NJ, says that if the landlord doesn't segregate it, and provide poroof that he did, the tenant has the right to direct that it be used to pay the rent.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Cranford NJ
985 posts, read 2,189,977 times
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Another interesting thing that Landlords usually get away with is using security money for cleaning the apartment after the tenant has surrendered possession. This is not legal. The Landlord CANNOT charge the tenant for cleaning of any kind. Just FYI
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:45 PM
 
177 posts, read 441,683 times
Reputation: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio M View Post
Another interesting thing that Landlords usually get away with is using security money for cleaning the apartment after the tenant has surrendered possession. This is not legal. The Landlord CANNOT charge the tenant for cleaning of any kind. Just FYI

Yep. Same with painting the walls and refinishing the floors. Both are to be done when a tenant moves out. It seems that a lot of landlords think a tenant's security deposit is money for home improvements.
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:06 PM
 
1 posts, read 7,007 times
Reputation: 10
I have a similar question and situation. I just read about this law, I'm in NJ, my landlord has never supplied me with bank information, nor has she ever paid me any interest. I am moving out in April, and my last months rent is due this week. So it is too late to send her notice and use my deposit for rent. Can I demand that she pay me the interest compounded yearly? (I've been there for 4 years) If she did have it in an account then I guess I would get the interest that it was earning, but I doubt the she ever put it in a separate account. Is there an interest rate that the law states that she pay? I thought I read something about 7% when using it for rent, but what about after all rent is paid?
I'm pretty sure that she will try and use the deposit for repairs to the building that were not caused by us living there, so I am already prepared to go to court if I have to, just wondering about the interest rate.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Martinsville, NJ
5,853 posts, read 6,510,792 times
Reputation: 3446
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbsg View Post
I have a similar question and situation. I just read about this law, I'm in NJ, my landlord has never supplied me with bank information, nor has she ever paid me any interest. I am moving out in April, and my last months rent is due this week. So it is too late to send her notice and use my deposit for rent. Can I demand that she pay me the interest compounded yearly? (I've been there for 4 years) If she did have it in an account then I guess I would get the interest that it was earning, but I doubt the she ever put it in a separate account. Is there an interest rate that the law states that she pay? I thought I read something about 7% when using it for rent, but what about after all rent is paid?
I'm pretty sure that she will try and use the deposit for repairs to the building that were not caused by us living there, so I am already prepared to go to court if I have to, just wondering about the interest rate.
No, it's not 7%. At best, it's the average rate for money market accounts at the bank at which it's being held, and that's only if this landlord rents more than 10 apartments. If less than 10, the requirement is "at least the regular rate of interest." Here's a link, so you can look at details for yourself.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:10 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,929 times
Reputation: 21
I am concerned about the tone of this thread.

Be forwarned, those of you who demonize your landlords. I am a landlord. My tenants haven't paid their rent for the first three months of this year. My wife lost her job in January and I cannot afford to let the tenants live in our unti rent free. But they are good people and have fallen on hard times. They just had a baby in December (their fourth child) and both of them lost their jobs. I let them live rent free for three months becuse I simply could not imagine putting a family of six out on the street in the dead of winter but I finally had to put in court papers to evict them, to keep myself from going into financial ruin. I delayed doing that until March and then delayed the court date once it was set.

One of the tenants (the wife) found a job and I assisted them in finding an emergency rental assistance agency to prevent homelessness. The agency gave them January and February's rent (a grant, not a loan) and then I accepted a partial payment for March and have waived late fees for April and beyond and agreed to let them pay me in installments until they are fully back on their feet. This kept them in their home.

Then, they had a court judgement against them (from some other creditor) and the bank where I have their security deposit illegally garnished their account. I could have ignored it and let my tenants fight that battle because it's not my money, however, I spent half a day threatening the bank with legal actioin if they didn't return my tentants' security deposit immediately, which they did. When they move out at the end of their tenancy, I will return ALL of their security deposit directly to them and their other creditors won't have a chance to take it (they keep the house impeccably clean so I don't expect holding onto any of it).

As I further examined my tenant's security deposit account, I determined that the bank (a major national bank) paid them a ridiculous TWENTY SEVEN CENTS in interest over the past 15 months on a $3,000 depoisit!!!! My tenants are getting robbed! I think this is criminal but state law allows the banks to get rich off of this. So now, I am looking at local banks which will pay my tenants a decent amount of interest or at least something fair. While Googling that topic, I happened upon this thread but after reading these posts I'm asking myslef, "am I a fool for caring about my tenants? Would they try to screw me out of their security deposit on some technicality?"

I encourage you folks to be fair with your landlords, or people like me will simply stop caring. I could have easily evicted my tenants for non-payment of rent, allowed the bank to keep the judgement against them (leaving them to fend for it), or let the bank continue to rip them off by paying them less than two cents a month in interest on a $3,000 deposit, or a combination of all three.

Please don't take your landlord's security deposit just because he failed to notify you (unless he or she is a heel and is trying to take advantage of you in some other way). You just may need them to be your advocate one day when you are at your lowest point.
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