Paying for cleanup NJ rental
August 31, 2011 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Isn't my landlord responsible for payment in cleanup of heavy Hurricaine flood damage to rental? I was told to get Flood insurance for my possessions, which I have, with a limited policy I could only get with Management pulling strings. Now multimillionaire landlord wants me to pay for cleanup through my insurance (which doesn't cover that.) Is this legal in NJ?
posted by Summer05 to Law & Government (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The owner is responsible for the cleanup of any flood damage. Not you. It sounds like he doesn't have flood insurance, in which case he would have to pay for the cleanup and repairs out of pocket, which he evidently doesn't want to do. But he must. If he refuses, photo document everything. If your apartment is unlivable, then that was a condition created by the landlord by virtue of his refusal to clean and repair the damage. That condition would allow you to break the lease and walk away. If he refuses to return your security deposit in that event he may be responsible for double or triple the amount, depending on NJ law. But just document everything including all communication with landlord. Communicate via email so you have paper documentation. You may end up in small claims court.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:13 PM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

as a renter, you are responsible for your personal property. as the landlord, he is responsible for his real property. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. photos, emails, certified letters.
posted by violetk at 4:29 PM on August 31, 2011

That condition would allow you to break the lease and walk away.

That condition may also obligate the landlord to find alternate accommodations for you, should you not want to break the least. I know that when my apartment had lead removed, the landlord was legally required to put us up in a hotel or another apartment during the cleanup. No doubt there are different rules in different areas, so check with the local tenant association or a lawyer.
posted by zippy at 4:33 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your state has an attorney general, with a website, and there will be landlord -tenant advice there. There may be a legal aid agency in your area, look in the phone book, yes, the dead tree one.
posted by theora55 at 4:55 PM on August 31, 2011

What town are you in? I would call the town and see if there is someone there who handles tenant complaints. Once you contact the town, it does make your relationship with your landlord sort of chilly, but at that point, it's not great anyhow. If the town has a record of it, the landlord is unlikely to be more of a jerk later. Just a theory.
posted by katinka-katinka at 5:04 PM on August 31, 2011

The State Attorney General's Office may even have set up phone lines for storm-related issues. That has been done in NC, albeit with a PR focus on busting general contracting or tree-removal scammers, not on addressing tenant problems. If so, that's a good place to try, for local information about how to proceed.
posted by thelonius at 5:53 PM on August 31, 2011

In my New Jersey town, the Division of Rent Leveling, also handles complaints. If you want to keep it local, try them, and also your town council member.
posted by katinka-katinka at 6:57 PM on August 31, 2011

Tell him no. Your insurance is for your personal property. Depending on what he says to that, your next move is with the attorney general or arranging with the contractor who your landlord is paying for appropriate time to do the work.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:06 PM on August 31, 2011

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