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

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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