In New Jersey, as across the country, you can expect that when you sign a residential lease, you’ll have to put down a security deposit. There are a few good reasons why the landlord will do this. First, it’s designed to cover any actual damage to the premises beyond reasonable wear and tear. In addition, if you fail to give the landlord the required amount of notice, as required in your lease, it can cover lost rents if the apartment cannot be immediately rented to another person.
Under New Jersey law, a landlord may not require a security deposit that exceeds one and a half months value of rent, except that there may be an additional annual security deposit that may not exceed 10% of the current security deposit. When you vacate an apartment, assuming that you have given the landlord proper notice under the lease, the landlord must give you back the security deposit within 30 days. This, however, is premised on the condition that you have given possession back to the landlord, i.e., returned all keys and vacated the premises. Under certain circumstances—where there has been a fire, flood, condemnation or evacuation—you are entitled to your security deposit within five days.
In addition, you are entitled to the payment of interest for the period during which your landlord holds your security deposit. The landlord must provide notice within 30 days of receiving your security deposit, disclosing:
- The name of the financial institution
- The type of account
- The amount of the deposit
- The current rate of interest
The landlord may pay the interest in cash or give you an equal credit toward your rent.
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At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Send us an e-mail or call us at 201-791-1333 or (201) 535-0323 to set up an appointment.