Is my landlord breaking the law?
It is impossible to determine if your landlord is breaking the law in New Jersey without hearing the specific details of your situation. Generally speaking, however, to remain compliant, landlords act in accordance with landlord-tenant laws. Some landlords may be unaware of these laws, while others ignore them on purpose to try to take advantage of you.
One of the most common complaints is the landlord who refuses to make repairs. According to Trulia, landlords have an obligation to keep your home in livable condition. Repairs they may become responsible for include leaks or hot water. Note that cosmetic damages do not fall under this. For example, if a cupboard door squeaks or falls off the hinges, the landlord may not be obligated to repair it right away.
For immigrants and minorities, a question they often get asked is what their national origin is. The Fair Housing Act prohibits this. It also prohibits asking about your marital status and whether or not you have children. Should the landlord pose these questions to you, you do not have to answer. If your answers or lack thereof contribute to a denial of your rental application, you might be able to file a housing discrimination claim. The information landlords may legally use to make a decision includes income, criminal records and credit history.
The market is constantly changing. As interest rates fluctuate and taxes increase, the cost of ownership for landlords may increase. Necessary repairs to the home may also eat into revenue. This can cause them to raise the rent in the middle of your lease, but this may be illegal. Month-to-month renters may experience legal increases during their stay but may need to receive a 30-day notice.
These are just some of the many instances of landlord negligence. It should not be used as or in place of sound legal advice.