I have rented the same one bedroom apartment for the past 2 years for $905 and $920. The tenant before me left a ton of furniture, the last of which was removed the day I moved in. Painting was quickly done but the hardwood floors were never stripped and redone. I was promised a new bathroom quickly after move in (more about that later). The rent was prorated to September 10 (the next year's lease was Sept 1) and I moved in. That super was fired because he failed to make repairs or answer calls.
(For example, I came home at 3am and my smoke detector was going off. When I finally got the super to call me back at 4am, he told me to throw it in the snow! I couldn't get it out or to stop beeping and DUH, that's totally unsafe and illegal so he finally came and took it out. Needless to say it took two months to get a new one, right before I complained to the ownership and he got fired. When the weather changed, part of my bedroom floor completely warped into a bump where the wood separated because the previous tenant either didn't notify the super that the air conditioner leaked or he didn't fix it, but finally the new super got it fixed and had my bathroom redone.)
The second super came in during my second lease and was great for a while and even had new windows put in. But when it came time for me to decide whether or not to renew, I had been laid off at work and wasn't sure if I'd be able to find a new teaching job cause of the tight market in NJ. So I called the super ahead of time to find out what the rent increase would be and to find when I'd have to let him know if I was renewing so I could try to plan accordingly but a few calls went unanswered. Needless to say I had to make a decision before finding a job and started looking at other places because I was fed up with the apartment complex and could save by living with roommates. Finding a new place took a while and I got a job before doing so.
I had to make sure that I could sign a new lease before deciding to officially not renew, but my calls to the super weren't returned and I finally got a paper requesting my response to new renewal at rent of $935 a month. I sent it in to decline (it had to be the middle of June at the latest, maybe 40 days notice?) only to receive a paper saying that I was going to be charged for September rent (after the lease was up) at the NEW rate of $935 because I hadn't given 45 days notice in writing (I tried to talk to the super but my phone messages weren't answered) but that if they were able to rent the place before September was up, I'd be prorated some of the money. I know that they'll take their sweet time redoing the floors and painting just so they can get the full month...
So here are my questions. One - what is the normal notice required by law in NJ, two - can they really charge me the new rent? Three - and I think it's a yes - can I just have it taken out of the security deposit? (I called managment to ask about the extra month's rent and to make sure I wouldn't get the crappy floors charged against me through security but she was nasty about it and said they keep records of who they paid to do repairs and such and would look into confirming the floors weren't done.) Four - What kind of case would I have in court given their poor track record at answering tenant's calls?