Landlord-Tenant question

Hi, I am renting out a part of my one family home. It’s sort of a studio because it has it’s own entry and bathroom. I agreed to rent it out to someone and I required the first month’s rent and a security deposit. I had repairs scheduled the 1st week of September but the renter requested to move in immediately and said they don’t mind if the repairs are being done when they’re moved in, although we did sign a lease right away. They paid the 1st month rent and I told them they could pay the deposit once the repairs are completed. Now that the repairs are complete, I’m having a hard time getting the deposit paid. Because of this, I have second thoughts and am worried whether the renter is financially capable of keeping the apartment. My question is – if I can still back out now even though the renter is completely moved in and lease has been signed, based on the fact that they have not completed the financial requirements 1st month paid, but deposit has not been paid. Thanks in advance.

Asked on September 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are describing a situation which where there is one rental unit in an owner occupied home. If you do not have a written lease, this is a month-to-month tenant on an oral lease ("oral" is the better term than "verbal"). That means you can, in a home like this, give them 1 month's notice (it's really "one full month plus"--i.e. whatever is left in this month, plus the next full month) to move out; you must provide the notice in writing, in a Notice to Quit/Termination Notice/Demand for Possession, which should be both regular mailed and certified mailed, return receipt requested. The Notice will state that they are a month-to-month tenant and you are giving them notice terminating their tenancy. You indicate the exact last date--if you sent it tomorrow, it would be October 31st. If they are not out on that date, you can then file an eviction action against them in landlord-tenant court (in New Jersey, all evictions must be through the courts).

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