Author Topic: No heating in the house, landlord unresponsive, what can I do as a tenant? (NJ)  (Read 2053 times)

confused_person

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removed for privacy
« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 11:21:12 PM by confused_person »

Linea_Norway

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If you worry about pipes freezing, could you ask your neighbour to install an electric oven (like a free standing oil filled radiator with a electric cord) in your apartment? You buy it only and deliver it to him/her. Hopefully you gave given someone a key? Maybe the extra heater could delay your problem until your rental insurance becomes valid.

If there is an actual gas leak, you should be very careful. The building could maybe explode or catch fire. But I suppose that problem was solved temporarily by turning the heating off.

I can't give you any legal advice, but hope you can reduce your rent until this is solved.

former player

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Have you googled "New Jersey tenant's rights" yet?  Plus any further tenant's rights laws pertaining to your locality within New Jersey?

A quick google suggests that you have the right to withhold rent for no heating, but you will wish to check for yourself.  Withholding rent is probably the quickest way to get a non-responsive landlord to get in touch with you.

rothwem

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Withholding rent is probably the quickest way to get a non-responsive landlord to get in touch with you.

Yep, this. The landlord doesnít care because heís still cash flowing.

With that said, I wouldnít want to deal with this douche on a regular basis, Iíd be shopping for somewhere else to live.

confused_person

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If you worry about pipes freezing, could you ask your neighbour to install an electric oven (like a free standing oil filled radiator with a electric cord) in your apartment? You buy it only and deliver it to him/her. Hopefully you gave given someone a key? Maybe the extra heater could delay your problem until your rental insurance becomes valid.

If there is an actual gas leak, you should be very careful. The building could maybe explode or catch fire. But I suppose that problem was solved temporarily by turning the heating off.

I can't give you any legal advice, but hope you can reduce your rent until this is solved.

The neighbors by now are probably using electric heaters in their apartments. Another problem is that all the gas boilers for heating and hot water are in the basement where the pipes may burst.

My understanding is that the gas leak has been stopped by the fire department. The problem is that gas heaters and hot water boilers have to be shit down until the problem causing the leak is fixed.


confused_person

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Have you googled "New Jersey tenant's rights" yet?  Plus any further tenant's rights laws pertaining to your locality within New Jersey?

A quick google suggests that you have the right to withhold rent for no heating, but you will wish to check for yourself.  Withholding rent is probably the quickest way to get a non-responsive landlord to get in touch with you.

Yes, I have googled it and there is a detailed PDF e-book available which I am reading now. https://www.lsnjlaw.org/Publications/Pages/Manuals/TenantsRights.pdf

I have already paid rent for the upcoming month but will consider withholding rent going forward if the problem is not fixed.

SunnyDays

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Make sure you check that you have the right to withhold rent on your own.  Where I live, this is illegal- itís mandatory to notify the Residential Tenants Board first.

confused_person

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Make sure you check that you have the right to withhold rent on your own.  Where I live, this is illegal- itís mandatory to notify the Residential Tenants Board first.

Good point, I think I have to send a letter to the owner first, then if they don't fix the problem I can withhold rent. The problem is finding the owner's address.

AccidentialMustache

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See if there's a public tenant union who'd talk through the processes you need to follow. Local, large, universities are likely to have that sort of thing. They'll have people who deal with this sort of stupidity day in and day out. In some cases depending on state/local law, you can notify, get no response, fix on your dime, and withhold rent equal to the cost of the fix.

The owner's address shouldn't be problem -- it should be public record -- you need your local recorder of deeds office and the property address. You might even find your local municipality/county is tech savvy enough to have an online GIS application where you can type in an address and get ownership information online, including the address the property taxes bill to. There's your address. Note you may need some form of certified mail for the notice.

MommyCake

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Hi, I'm also in NJ.  For the no heat issues, you should call the department of health in your town to report this.  The town will probably come out to inspect and should contact the owner/manager for resolution.  Since you haven't signed a new lease, you are on a month-to-month and can move at any time.  I would find a new place. 

theoverlook

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Quote
Signing a long term lease with another landlord is not an option right now due to my personal plans for next year.

You might look into whether there are any extended stay places near where you need to be, based on this. Some of them are really apartment complexes that use the "extended stay" classification to do an end run around zoning, and you may find monthly rent that isn't ridiculous and flexible lease terms. (Shorter leases usually result in higher rent, of course.)