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After Hurricane Sandy: Renter's Security Deposits Protected By Law

Large number of rental properties damaged by the storm have tenant protection.

State law protects renters throughout New Jersey who fear their security deposit might be washed away with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. 

The Security Deposit Law, as it is called in New Jersey, forces landlords to return a tenant's security deposit within five days of the tenant's displacement due to disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. Specifically, the law pertains to flood, condemnation, evacuation or fire.

In places such as Ocean City and other Jersey Shore towns, where summer and year-round rentals make up a sizeable portion of the housing market, the local government is helping distribute information on what tenants' rights are.

Belmar in Monmouth County has distributed a summary of the law on its website: "The law requires the (security deposit) return when either an authorized public official has posted the premises with a notice prohibiting occupancy, or any building inspector, in consultation with a relocation officer, where applicable, has certified within 48 hours that displacement is expected to continue longer than seven (7) days and has notified the owner or lessee in writing."

Even the issue of how to send the security deposit back to a tenant who has no home is addressed by the law. If the tenant is displaced, homeless or now living elsewhere the law states the landlord must do the following:

"Within three (3) business days after receiving notification of the displacement, the landlord shall provide written notice to a displaced tenant, by personal delivery or mail to the tenant’s last known address, indicating when and where the tenant’s security deposit will be available for return. If the last known address for the tenant is at the property that is no longer habitable, the landlord shall post notices at each exterior entrance of the property.   The landlord may make arrangements to have the municipal clerk hold the security deposit so that the tenant may collect it at the clerk’s office. If the tenant does not collect the security deposit within 30 days, it shall be re-deposited or reinvested by the landlord in the same bank from which it was withdrawn."

Now that 30 days has passed since Hurricane Sandy, many of those unclaimed security deposits will now be redeposited into their respective banks. Also, if the residency become livable again and the tenant moves bank in, the security deposit is again due back to the landlord.

The Security Deposit Law applies to most residential rental properties, including mobile homes. The exception is owner-occupied two- or three-family dwellings.

The law and other protections for tenants and landlords are explained on the state Department of Community Affairs website:  www.state.nj.us/dca and follow the highlights link for “landlord tenant information.

Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Interesting how this law would apply summer season weekly etc. rentals. It seems more relevant to longer term rentals. Certainly seems fair that they should get any security deposit back if they cannot use a vacation home because of storm caused damages. I'll bet our local real estate rulers could figure out a way to keep any deposits from such folks. After all they're only shoobies and they're expected to leave money in Ocean City. Thier oblligation to do so would not end just because they couldn't move into the place they planeed to rent here.
Deb December 06, 2012 at 12:38 PM
The so called shoobies come to Ocean City because the owners of these properties CHOOSE to rent them out and not stay there themselves as owners. They must then abide by the law as a landlord. What is the law that states that anyone is expected or obligated to leave money in Ocean City? Plenty of families come for their vacation with their own food, own entertainment for the week and hardly spend any money. Ocean City will always be America's Greatest Family Resort! It's about those families coming together and spending that family time TOGETHER that they can not do during the rest of year. My, how some greedy people forget what life is all about!
Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Such greedy people are called locals! Real estate interests, builders, and shop owners. And "ordinary" resident locals want the shoobies stay home but to keep sending mioney here.
Cindy Nevitt December 06, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Wyatt, please get a new obsession. You have been a one-trick pony with your shoobie persecution complex since the advent of Patch. Do everyone, especially yourself, a favor and let go of the bitterness and anger. Spewing your unoriginal rant clearly hasn't relieved you of it. So zip your lip, Chippy, and move on. Thank you from a loyal Patch reader.
Frank Worrell December 06, 2012 at 03:51 PM
For me I love the shoobies and the folks who rent out their property for the summer season. 12 weeks here, pay for beach tags and a full year real estate taxes without adding to the need for services all year long . the city is looking for year round families but I like both seasonal renters and my full time neighbors . We should understand that the local year round pop. is declining but I think what is really happening a whole lot of folks leave and go to south for the colder months and use their Fl. address for tax reasons after the last census.
vic December 06, 2012 at 05:45 PM
frank, i couldn't agree with you more. if it wasn't for the shoobies, would we have the stores on asbury ave., superfresh, acme, gas stations, banks, etc. i gladly put up with 6 months of hell in order to have 6 months of heaven. wyatt, i understand there are some cheap properties that you can move to in holgate.
Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 06:42 PM
AHA!! We hear from a sensitive local. Yes I often make obesrvations on the locals' opinions about shoobies which are based on many years' obesrvations of their attitudes, hearing their comments, etc. especially in the off season when very few of us are around to hear them, and those of us who are here are more readily identified targets for their "go away but keep sending money" remarks. Wassa matter, fearful that more shoobies may read them and begin a thought process leading to a realization that there are other places on the NJ shore to spend their vacation time than OC? See the comments of Frank and Vic, following, which are forthright about local's views of the shoobies and the reasons they are "welcome" here.:
JOSEPH LEWANDOWSKI December 06, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Frank your right but we have to look at the full time people that like to line in town. like my self i twwo need a a two bedroom rentle . my land loard is not fixing up the apt under the mold is two much for my son . so how were do i go am looking and need a full time rentle. i would love to paid my security if i know were i was going.if any one reading this please help us out we looking 609 713 6253 am JOE
Monk Dean December 07, 2012 at 05:15 AM
I just love the island mentality.Be strong my friends..
Mammadelle January 08, 2013 at 09:52 PM
I will be purchasing a home in OC in the next few weeks - waiting for a closing date. I am looking to rent a two bedroom apartment year round. May I call you? .
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jimbo March 12, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Buying in ocean city?? So I need to buy a property in the A zone ..10 feet from ground to the first floor joist and my flood insurance would be guaranteed to be affordable..what factors should I be aware of before buying..have to think about ..looks like continuing to remain a shoobie makes sense
Eric Sauder March 12, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Vic I suspect the stores you mentioned need commerce year around to survive. Thus the importance of people living here.

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