Jean Baptiste & Associates
New Jersey Tenant Withholding Rent Because of Inadequate Utilities, What Can I Do?
Although it’s common for tenants to miss rent payments or pay late, if you have a New Jersey tenant withholding rent because of inadequate utilities, it’s time to take a look at the source of the problem, as well as the options that are available to you. You do have certain responsibilities and legal obligations as a landlord, but you also have your own finances and rights to consider.
Tenants in New Jersey have significant rights and high expectations when they rent. If they read the Truth in Renting notice you are required to provide them, they are likely well aware of their rights. With the help of a qualified real estate lawyer from Jean Baptiste & Associates, LLC, you may be able to come to an arrangement that works well for both of you.
What Are the Landlord’s Obligations?
Landlords in New Jersey are obligated to maintain certain standards when it comes to their rental units. This includes the availability of utilities. If utilities are part of the rental agreement, then you are obligated to make sure they remain on, even if the tenant has broken the lease.
If utilities are not part of the lease, you still have an obligation to make sure tenants have adequate utilities available to them.
For example, you don’t have to pay the electric bill as part of the lease, but you do have to make sure that the property’s electrical system is in working order and able to sustain use. Many of these types of situations are covered by the New Jersey Habitability Bulletin, and you should also have a qualified legal team on your side to be certain you are following proper procedures with your tenants.
Reasons for Withholding Rent
According to the laws established by the New Jersey Department of Community Services, tenants have the right to withhold rent under certain circumstances. Inadequate utilities are just one of the circumstances that allow for this measure to be taken—if the utilities are in your name or are mechanically unable to be used.
In such cases, the renter may apply their rent toward the utilities instead. However, doing this usually requires more than just saying they aren’t going to pay their rent because of a utility problem.
As a New Jersey landlord, you will find yourself in many situations where you wonder how to manage situations such as tenants who withhold rent payments. However, if you are not providing adequate utilities, you may end up paying the cost for your tenants to rent another dwelling. If the situation is not working for either of you, you might offer to allow them to break the lease, or you may have grounds to evict the tenant.
Experienced New Jersey Tenant-Landlord Attorneys
Although your tenants may be withholding rent because of reasons they feel are legitimate, you may not have to accept it. Make sure you have the experienced attorneys from Jean Baptiste & Associates, LLC on your side to determine the best solution for your situation.
Have us evaluate your case during a free consultation by calling or submitting the form below.