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Old Today, 02:57 PM
 
1 posts
Reputation: 10

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Hey All,

Just wanted to get some feedback from those of you in New Jersey who might know something about renter-tenant rights/laws. I moved to NJ last year and began a 1-year lease. My landlord/roommate lived in the master, and two other tenants plus myself rented the additional 3 rooms. We all have access to the common areas. Each of us have separate leases. My lease is up at the end of August. I came home last Sunday to find a for-sale sign in our yard. No heads up from the landlord/roommate. She refused to return messages requesting information and did not return to the property (I am assuming that she is staying with her parents). She did contact us via text on Tuesday to tell us that they were showing the house on Wednesday. I was out of town for business Mon-Wed and returned to find lockboxes outside of the house - once again no discussion or heads up about this.

There have been many showings this week. Some we have received 24-hr notice, some we have received notice less than 24 hrs and others we have not received any notice at all. The presence of the lock-boxes and the unannounced showings (about 1/3 of the showings have been unannounced) concern me. I think it is reasonable to assume that if they are showing up without notice when we are home in the early evening, it is possible that they are showing up unannounced during the day when we are not at home and are unaware that people are entering the house. I have expressed this to my landlord in multiple texts as well as requesting phone conversations and an in-person meeting to provide us with information regarding the logistics (which she has not yet met those requests). I also communicated to her that I felt that addressing the issue of the lockboxes and the unnannouced showings was in all of our interest. Not only is it inconvenient and a security risk for us as tenants, but it is also in our landlord's best interest if she really wants to sell her house quickly and for top-dollar. It is not a good impression on potential buyers to walk in on a property that is not ready or with tenants napping or cooking dinner or in the shower (all of which have happened this week already). In addition, I do have a dog (permission written into my lease and I pay pet-rent). I do not think my landlord has communicated this to the realtors or the listing agent is not communicating that to the other realtors, because there has been some surprise by some of the buyers and agents when they opened the door to my room (they were not scheduled to be there) and my happy little dog ran out to greet them. I should not have to keep my dog kenneled 24/7 just in case some unscheduled realtor wants to stop by unannounced with potential buyers. Again I have expressed all of these concerns to my landlord in what I hope is a respectful and professional manner.

Does anyone have any advice regarding how to deal with a landlord in this type of situation? What about the lockboxes? Do I have any recourse? The National Association of Realtors website has a consent form for lockboxes at MLS listings. This listing is MLS, and we were never informed of the lockboxes nor did we sign a consent form. Do we have to give consent? Any suggestions on how to resolve this situation in a legal, professional, respectful manner would me much appreciated.

I want to make sure that everyone knows before they respond that there was a time when I would have been very supportive, cooperative and helpful. This person was not just my landlord, but also my roommate, and we all got along fairly well. However, I feel that my landlord made this situation very difficult given the lack of early and full communication.

Thanks for you input in advance!
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Old Today, 07:09 PM
 
1,827 posts, read 1,007,716 times
Reputation: 1283
You are in a very, very unique situation to say the least. Typical landlords don't share common spaces with renters, meaning that there's usually a greater limit on landlords requiring permission to enter your rented space. But frankly, it sounds like the space you have actually rented is one of the three rooms and you have shared use of the other spaces.

Without reviewing your lease I can't say for certain, but it sounds like it's shared space. So you're only a partial renter of it.
And you basically have no rights as to what the landlord does with those spaces. You share the yard, for example, but if they decide not to mow it, you can't do anything.

Now, sure, it makes them look dodgy with people in the shower or a dog running around or whatever the deal is, but that is entirely their problem. But what it would say to me as a landlord is "okay, wait until August and then people start moving out and I get the space." Because nobody looking to buy is probably thinking that they're going to be cool with a bunch of people they inherited wandering around the space. The dynamic is going to be a huge shift for all of you.

So, do yourself a favor and start looking around. They're either going to wait until the end of your lease and not renew it or buy you out before it ends. If your landlord is being reticent to talk about it then they're not magically going to start becoming chatty because you're angry. They're out to get the place sold and that's that. You might have a decent relationship based on the last year but they're apparently willing to burn that to the ground and say "it's just business, sorry you saw it as anything else."

So start looking at Craigslist and asking friends about open places just to cover yourself. Don't get caught out in the cold when the messaging is written pretty clearly on the wall. You'll probably find a better place with some better walls between you and your landlord.
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