What to do if our house was unhabitable after a hurricaine?

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What to do if our house was unhabitable after a hurricaine?

We cleaned our belonging out so landlord can do repairs she knows we are not returning bc we lost everything all our kids stuff and ours. We asked for our security back so we can find somewhere to live and she blew it off and now said she will get in touch with us maybe next week. We told her we are going to the house tomr bc FEMA needs to do a walk through. She said she changed the locks, good luck.We never handed our key in, its now 7 days post storm still havn’t received security. We have always been great tenants always paid rent on time. Can she change locks and hold our security after a natural disaster? I feel shevis doing this bc she lost 8 houses wheh the hurricane struch.

Asked on November 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  If the condition of the apartment - it being uninhabitable - will last for a long time (I know that is a very vague term but things are really so case specific) then you should be able to break your lease and get back your security deposit.  There has to be wither an agreement between you or a court order.  Now, she can not change the locks with out a court order unless you have an agreement in writing to let you out of the lease and return your security  You are going to have to fight her (I know it is hard but you have to) by going to court and filing an action against her.  There are tenants right organizations to help.  You need to get FEMA in.  She can not interfere with that.  Good luck.


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