Profile picture for user901361

NJ-Landlord took security deposit out of Trust Account prior end of lease

I am a tenant in NJ. My rent security was put in a Trust account, I filled out W-9, and opened under my social security #. Myself and landlord went together to bank.
1. Am I allowed to call or go to bank to verify my funds are in the acct.? (I called the branch where acct. was opened and the general customer support line-and both reps told me 0, I then requested the landlord show me prooof of funds and she said she has other priorities and money is there...she also said I asm not allowed to call bank to find out info...I am listed on acct though)
2. Is the landlord allowed to touch the funds in away-transfer out and try to put back before anyone notices?
3. Would this be a criminal or civil issue?
4. She is going to foreclose on property as well-What are my rights as a tenant.
5.  Original lease states 7 month lease the we agree to go month to month after that. She iis emailing me an addendum to the lease stating that she can't renew lease after 1/31/13-Im guessing because she is doing deed in lieu of foreclosure, she said if I don't sign there is no lease-is that true?
6. Is it fraud for to take my last 8 months rent and not apply to mortgage on property?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank You,
BBRB
  • December 08 2012 - Jackson
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Answers (6)

Profile picture for user901361
Thanks Michelle-I went to the bank with her in May when we signed the lease. We opened the trust account together. (opened under my name and social) I went to bank monday and received confirmation that she drained the account of over 2000 dollars by online transfers 3 or 4 months into lease....(rent never late)so because I do not receive the statement, we had no idea she was doing this. The rep at the bank told me to consult with an attorney-which I did....I am waiting for the landlord to pick up her certified letter stating that she illegally took the money (my attorney's words) and if she does not replenish it I will move forward in holding her accountable....so waiting at this moment...Thank you for the response!
  • December 12 2012
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The security deposit is to be held in a joint landlord tenant savings account. Landlord is to inform tenant of the location of the deposit. If you go to the bank the bank should be able to tell you if there is an account with your name on it. Deposit is to be returned within 30 days after vacating. If there is a foreclosure then the rent should be payable to the bank (check with an attorney on that). For info on tenants rights in NJ, check out:
http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_lti/t_i_r.pdf
  • December 11 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You will need to contact the NJ contact info in the links to know if you can confirm account balances.  Having both your names on the account is quite unusual IMHO, but I don't know NJ practices.

I hadn't seen you describe bullying in the first post.  Wasn't aware that was happening.


Good luck!
  • December 09 2012
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Profile picture for user901361
I plan to be out as of Jan 31, that is not the issue as my home will be finished being built. I am more concerned as to her bullying me into thinking that I have done something wrong. We have paid rent on time and have been good tenants for the duration of lease. I want know how to move forward once I prove she embezzled or diverted the money out of the account for her own personal use. She -the landlord-suggested to me that if she can't provide me with proof of find by 1/1/13 I am not obligated to pay Jan.'s rent....I do plan to have her ammend her addendum to prove this...I just hate the fact that I know the money is gone and she wants to lie about it...I have given her the opportunity to come clean-and my husband and I would figure out a solution...anyone have ideas how to move forward? Am I alllowed to get a balance check at the bank-I mean I'm not requesting anything but to see the acct. balance...thanks for the info. and replies
  • December 09 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Here's a link to the NJ landlord tenant information services.
Here's a link to the NJ section on security deposits and what you are allowed to do if the landlord fails to follow the law.

The landlord says you will be receiving notice required by law, therefore, plan on being out by the end of January.    Should you hold back a month's rent as suggested by the other poster, you may be able to be evicted more quickly and will find the eviction on your record (i.e. very hard to find another rental).    Make sure  you get guidance from your attorney before shooting yourself in the foot.

You've received notice that your tenancy is ending at the end of January.  Advanced notice most likely meets  your rights as a tenant.  

If you don't sign the document the landlord has sent, you still will have been served written notice that you must be out at the end of January.

The rental contract is between you and the landlord, not you and the lender.  The consequences of not paying the mortgage are between the landlord and the bank, not you and the landlord.  While it is disturbing, it is really none of your business.




  • December 09 2012
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Do not pay your last months rent in this situation!  Security is supposed to only be used towards repairs after lease is terminated and/or a portion of rent if agreed by both parties.  Since you have another month on lease, don't pay rent.  Write a letter to landlord stating that since you withdrew monies from joint account for security deposit, I am not responsible for last months rent.  This scenario is typical in situations where the landlord is about to be foreclosed on.  Like I said typical but not legal.  Unfortunately in this situation, it would be very difficult to get your security back also.  So do what I mentioned earlier.
  • December 09 2012
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