What to do if our landlord is harassing us to pay more money or get out?

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What to do if our landlord is harassing us to pay more money or get out?

We moved into a 1300 square foot apartment over a month ago with 4 adults and a child. The house has 4 bedrooms. When we moved in we had 1 dog but I specifically discussed with the landlord getting a second dog. We are even paying more a month to have the dogs but nothing about pets is stipulated in the lease. He doesn’t like the size of the second dog so he has been harassing us. He comes to our home and bangs on the door. He wants hundreds more a month. Now he is telling us we have to leave immediately. He says there’s too many people here. What can I do to get him to stop harassing us?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a written lease? If you do, you cannot be evicted unless you violate its terms (including by non- or late payment) in some way, at least until the end of the lease. Similarly, during the period of the lease, the landlord cannot change its terms or conditions, require you to pay more, impose new limitations, like who can live there, etc.--a lease is a contract, and while it is in force, both parties are bound by its terms.

When the lease is up, the landlord could raise the rent or add new terms or limitations--if  you didn't want to accept the new rent or terms, you could choose to not re-rent there.

Howevev, if you don't have a written lease, you are a month-to-month tenant. That means that the landlord may terminate your tenancy at any point on 30 days notice; it also means he can change the rent or the conditions under which you lease on 30 days notice. So if  you don't have a written lease, he could do this on a month's notice.


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