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  1. #1

    Default How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: New Jersey

    Hi Law Experts, thanks in advance for reading my question .

    I have a property in the state of NJ that was initially rented by two persons. Ms A and Mr B back in 2013 when they were still in relationship. The lease was signed by both of them but the security deposit was given via a cashiers check which had only Ms A's name on it. Until when Mr B stayed there they both paid the rent fifty fifty but after he moved out ms A paid the rent in full. The lease expired in July 2015 and mr B moved out but Ms A continued to stay on a month the month basis until Jan 5th that's when she gave me the keys back. They had made some changes to the wall paint which they didn't bring it back in the same color as I gave them earlier, also the h/w floor was damaged, has stains, scratches and scuff marks which was not before when I gave them the house. My questions are as per below.

    1) when returning deposit, am I supposed to split the deposit and give it back 1/2 and 1/2 to both of them? Or can I refund the entire amount to Ms A. Should I ask mr B to give in writing that he has no objection to me refunding the entire deposit to Ms A?
    2) can I deduct the repair charges from the deposit? Is there a process?

    Please reply and advise, thanks for all your help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lease Signed by Two Persons Deposit Paid by One

    http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions...formation.html

    You seriously didn't skip out on the research of being a landlord, before actually becoming one, did you?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    I have to echo Pringle's sentiment. If you have to ask these basic questions you have no business being in the landlord business.

    However, I take pity on you and give you a fish so you can eat for today.

    Quote Quoting needadvisenow
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    1) when returning deposit, am I supposed to split the deposit and give it back 1/2 and 1/2 to both of them? Or can I refund the entire amount to Ms A. Should I ask mr B to give in writing that he has no objection to me refunding the entire deposit to Ms A?
    Never mind who the check came from. You had two people on the lease that were obliged to give you a deposit as part of their contract with you. The SAFEST way to cover your butt is to write one check for the refund and make it out to Ms A and Mr B and let them figure it out. If Ms A gets upset just tell her that's the contract and the consequence of living with boyfriends and/or roommates.

    Quote Quoting needadvisenow
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    2) can I deduct the repair charges from the deposit? Is there a process?
    Yes, you can deduct the repair charges and, yes, there is a process.

    The process is addressed by the NJ Security Deposit statute 46:8-19 which you can read at:

    http://njlaw.rutgers.edu/cgi-bin/njs...9&actn=getsect

    Once you've gotten this situation squared away I suggest you study the NJ landlord tenant statute in its entirety:

    http://njlaw.rutgers.edu/cgi-bin/njs...tle=46&chapt=8

    There's also a Guide that is quite comprehensive and cites statutes and case decisions:

    http://www.lsnjlaw.org/Publications/...antsRights.pdf

    Now go learn how to fish.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Quote Quoting needadvisenow
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    1) when returning deposit, am I supposed to split the deposit and give it back 1/2 and 1/2 to both of them?
    I suggest asking them how they want the money refunded. If one says that the entire deposit should be sent to the other, I suggest getting a signed, written instruction to that effect.
    Quote Quoting needadvisenow
    can I deduct the repair charges from the deposit? Is there a process?
    You need to learn and follow your state's security deposit laws, which are summarized here. Your failure to do so could cost you dearly.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    I have to echo Pringle's sentiment. If you have to ask these basic questions you have no business being in the landlord business
    Unfortunately, it looks like my sentiment was deleted somehow? But I agree with your entire post.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Quote Quoting Pringle
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    Unfortunately, it looks like my sentiment was deleted somehow? But I agree with your entire post.
    It's still here. It's message number 2 above.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    It's still here. It's message number 2 above.
    Must have been a glitch with the forum or my browser. Not the first time this has happened either.

    My point still stands!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    I suggest asking them how they want the money refunded. If one says that the entire deposit should be sent to the other, I suggest getting a signed, written instruction to that effect.
    I don't like that idea because it puts the landlord in the position of being accused of holding the refund hostage pending the tenants' decision.

    I've always written the check to both. That way I've met my statutory and contractual obligation and I'm not stuck holding the deposit while they fight it out.

    If they come back later with written instructions, they return the check, I void it and write another.

    Till then, not my problem.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to Return a Security Deposit for a Joint Lease if One Tenant Paid the Money

    Dear all,

    thanks for your response. Also I have one more question, the tenant did not vacate the premises until Jan 4th and I did not get the key until Jan 5th. Isnt she liable for the January rent that I can deduct from her deposit? or will that be an issue?

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