What are my rights if my landlord is turning my apartment into a real estate office and is forcing me out?

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What are my rights if my landlord is turning my apartment into a real estate office and is forcing me out?

I am on a month-to-month lease; my landlord refused to sign a new lease with me, despite my repeated attempts. He convinced me that he wanted me to stay for 2 more years and a lease was unnecessary. Then yesterday he contacted me and said I must move out in bout 2 months because he is turning my apartment into a real estate office. He has neglected to fix several issues with the apartment over the past 23 months and I have invested several hundred dollars of my own money in maintainance and repairs under the assumption that I would be living here for years to come. Can I legally stop this or at least be reimbursed?

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A month to month lease means either party may lawfully terminate the lease on 30 days notice. The landlord therefore may choose to terminate your tenancy with 2 months notice and is not required to renew your tenancy. Also, if you chose to invest money in maintenance knowing that you were on a month to month lease, you have no claim for reimbursement--you knowingly took the risk of your tenancy being terminated early. You could--and should--have either refused to invest your own money, or only invested it if the landlord agreed to give you a 1- or 2-year lease. Since the landlord has done nothing wrong by terminating a month-to-month tenancy, you have no legal claim against him.

If there were signficant problems--not merely aesthetic issues or minor inconveniences, like old paint or carpet, or a slightly leaky faucett--which the landlord failed to fix after notice of the problem, you may be able to sue for monetary comensation for the period of time you were living with the condition(s). So for things like lack of heat or air conditioning, lights that did not work, plumbing fixtures that did not work, you may be able to seek compensation, thoguh you would need to bring a lawsuit to do so, which may or may not be worth it.


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