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Old 09-26-2009, 05:38 PM
 
8 posts, read 10,711 times
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My husband and I may be moving to NJ from the southwest where we've owned our own home for a number of years. We will rent in NJ at least to start. We've kind of narrowed it down to the Ridgewood-Fair Lawn area, but I have some questions and would appreciate any input.

1) What does it mean when the rental ad says "up and down" in relationship to an apartment in a two family house?

2) While I know that leases typically should protect both parties, in reality, landlords prefer leases that primarily protect landlords (at least, that's true in our area.) Are there any uniquely NJ conditions or clauses that might have implications that someone new to the area might miss?

3) Are the rental prices usually "set in stone" in NJ or is some negotiation expected?

4) Any "minefields" that a newbie to NJ needs to know about when renting in NJ?

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
1,126 posts, read 661,017 times
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I recently moved here from the sunbelt--Central TX. The up and down thing probably means that the house has been divided in half vertically as opposed to by floor. There are pros and cons to each set up. I like being on the first floor (cooler house in summer, don't have to schlep stuff up stairs), but then again the owners' kid is always running around back and forth above us, and the house is all hardwoods, so it's kinda loud. But he goes to bed early, so not that big of a deal.

Here are a few things I noticed that were different:

Your landlord is required to deposit your deposit in some interest-bearing account. You get the interest when you get your deposit back.

You're supposed to have rental insurance.

In general, I think there are more protections here for tenants than the SW because the SW is so laissez faire.

Some other general things:

You risk getting a ticket if you park on the street from 2 to 5 a.m. or whatever in many of these suburbs. Find out about this, and make sure your rental has adequate off-street parking or you'll have to get some kind of overnight parking permit, probably at a remote lot.

The suburbs here are different from what you're used to in the southwest. Most of them are towns in their own right with their own downtowns as opposed to box stores and chains, and these range from quaint and sleepy to lively. Depending on what you want in terms of shopping and night life, find out what's nearby.

Because the terrain is hilly with a lot of rivers, the towns aren't really arranged on grids. Get a GPS if you don't have one already. It's confusing because there are Springfield Aves., Morris Aves., and Broad Sts. everywhere, and they are not continuous.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
1,126 posts, read 661,017 times
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Oh, forgot to add that I was able to get a little bit of a rent reduction and to negotiate my occupancy date (negotiated to be two weeks later than what they wanted). I used a realtor to help because I was unfamiliar with the area, which meant I had to pay a one month's rent fee. Have some money set aside so you can fork over the necessary cash--possibly 1 month's rent plus 1 month's fee plus 1 1/2 month's security deposit.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Edison NJ
1,850 posts, read 4,308,719 times
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1-typically this means bedrooms are on a second floor. There are many LARGE houses that were split vertically to form a 2 family house instead of split horizontally. The horizontal split is the most common tho.
2-I dont know about UNIQUE to NJ but you can fine all NJ tenancy rights here. LSNJLAW - Tenants' Rights in New Jersey Chapter Index
3-It is my experience that rental prices are set in stone.
4-not really, You'll need first month rent plus a security. If you move into a apartment building there may be additional deposits required for using the loading dock and freight elevator (but you get those back right away after you move in) and there may be rules about what day and time of day you can move in. There are not really any seasonal differences except that most people tend to move in warmer weather. It is uncommon for an apartment to be furnished. Some apartments come with utilities built into the rent, some dont, make sure to ask but it is usually stated up front.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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I don't know how different it is from the SW but when i moved here from NYC I noticed these things were different:

In NY most rentals require 1 months security deposit, here in NJ most places require 1 and a half months security. PP was correct they are required to deposit your security in an interest bearing account and all interest is payable to you. I believe they are also required to open the account in YOUR name.

A LOT of apartments here do not come with a refridgerator. What a royal PITA that has been!! We never expected to have to shell out money for that and now that we are on our third move I am absolutely SICK of moving that heavy thing around. Plus not all refridgerator holes are created equal so your refridgerator may not fit into your next rental. We had to remove a cabinet in our last rental.

Lastly, with the parking some towns do not allow overnight street parking which can be a pain. Also many DO allow it but you have to have a permit (sometimes only on certain streets) do yourself a favor and go get the permit even if your street does not require one. When we first moved hubby drove his car and parked near the bus stop, $75 later we found that although our quite street didn't need a permit the one close to the bus stop does (to stop people from towns further from the city driving to our town and taking the bus from there). Some towns charge for permits others don't

Good luck with your move!
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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Thanks everyone. Great advice and info. I wouldn't have even though about finding out about street parking. Also the refrigerator-- we definitely know we're not taking our 20 year old refrigerator with us-- but figured one would be provided in the apt. Wow-- glad to know to check this out. Not looking forward to having to figure out where to buy appliances right off the bat-- but such is life. Thank again.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Edison NJ
1,850 posts, read 4,308,719 times
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if you check the local phon books there are a number of places that sell lightly used or damaged in shipping brand new appliances at a huge discount. My mother bought a VERY nice stainless steel model before she passed for $600 Vs the almost $2000 price tag of a brand new one. It was used with a HUGE dent in the side but it worked just fine.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Summit, NJ
1,126 posts, read 661,017 times
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To MovingfromSW, I looked at 5 apartments/divided houses, and they all had refrigerators. This was in the Union/Springfield/Summit area, basically straight West from the Newark airport. I don't know if icibui lives closer to (or farther from) the city--that might make a difference.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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Thanks for the info. If we need to get some appliances, I will definitely check out that option.
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