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Co-Tenant Going Onto Long Term Disability

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Co-Tenant Going Onto Long Term Disability

Postby tenantcatch22 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:24 am

Multi-dwelling in northern New Jersey. The co-signer of my lease has been on leave from his job for a psychiatric disorder for the past four weeks. He informs me that in another two weeks, his leave status changes and he goes onto half salary. He tells me that a lawyer informed him that under those circumstances, he can then be legally released from the lease, leaving me in the unfortunate position of being legally responsible for a rent I cannot afford on my own and I will be forced into debt in order to pay the full rent until the time that I find a replacement housemate.

If that's true that he can get legally released from his lease agreement, what's the procedure he must follow? Does he inform the landlord with written proof and then how long before he's released from the lease? In addition, even at half salary, he'll be making about $67,000 annually and his portion of the rent is $1100 monthly. Can he really claim that he could no longer afford the rent and does that justify his release from the lease?

In addition, he had a job interview a few days ago at another company. Suppose he goes onto this half salary, gets released from the lease and then starts working at another job? In other words, he told me that he doesn't know if he'd be going back to work in two weeks, four weeks or possibly longer? But, it certainly sounds like he expects to go back to work. How does that justify someone being released from their lease?

Thank you.
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Answer

Postby dealing3000 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:15 pm

Your co-signer will of course need to vacate the premises if he intends on not paying his half of the rent. If you look at it from your perspective you both are responsible for the rent equally. Even he gets himself off the hook you would be responsible either way if he does not pay. If he thinks he is getting off the hook then make sure he leaves so you can get someone else in. There is nothing that would enable him to exist in the premises rent free - he would be mistaken there. His health problems are not your problem nor are they the landlords. LTD is meant to pay for necessities in the case someone can't work, that is what it is there for, rent included.
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Postby tenantcatch22 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:25 pm

I appreciate that you wanted to respond to my post, but I had particular questions included which I need answered. Thank you.
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Location: Northern New Jersey

Answer

Postby dealing3000 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:27 pm

Sorry to not be more clear but I have dealt with a number of rental issues in the past in NJ and I am not aware of any "out" such as what your roommate describes in the case of a disability. Merely getting disabled is not a reason to break any type of legal contract that I am aware of unless of course that specific clause was put into the contract from the beginning. No one here will be able to give you an exact opinion other than a lawyer more familiar with NJ rental laws but as I said I have dealt with NJ rentals as both a renter and a LL and have never come across such an out.

One of three things can happen,

1- He never gets an official release from the LL because as I have said, this does not exist. He stays in the apartment and continues to pay rent. Case closed

2- He never gets an official release but relies on bad information and stops paying rent but stays. Make sure you let him know his credit will be harmed along with yours if the full rent is not paid up. This could seriously hurt his and your chances of finding another apartment in the future. You need to decide to either pay the full rent to save your credit or bail on the apartment.

3- He stops paying and moves out, leaving you with the option of going after him for the rest of the rent (which you can in small claims court) or finding another roommate.

Option two is the worst scenario and as such I would spend my time peppering him on what he will do if he never gets his release. This way you are prepared for each outcome.

Just my 2 cents.
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Postby tenantcatch22 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:55 pm

Thank you very much for your added information. Precisely what you said is what two lawyers I spoke to by phone have told me. There are, apparently, some situations where it is possible to get out of the lease (the Tenants Association have told me about this), but it must relate to much more extreme cases. However, they, too, said that in his circumstances, it doesn't sound like a case that would entitle him to be released from the rent contract.

I think that my housemate must have gotten misinformation from the lawyer with whom he consulted. With that information, he has caused me tremendous stress.

Thank you again for your input. Much appreciated.
tenantcatch22
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby tenantcatch22 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:35 am

To: Dealing 3000: I did want to show you that there is, in fact, documentation in NJ Law regarding some protection to a tenant who becomes disabled. In my housemate's case, he would still be earning almost $70,000 annually with a rent of $1100 monthly. So, I don't think he could prove inability to pay. Again, thanks for all your help.

Tenant illness or accident. Any lease for one or more years may be ended before it expires if the tenant or the tenant’s spouse becomes disabled due to an illness or accident. In such a case, the tenant or spouse must notify the landlord on a disability form available from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Call 1-609-633-6606 to request a copy. The form requires (1) a certification of a treating doctor that the tenant or spouse is unable to continue to work; (2) proof of loss of income; and (3) proof that any pension, insurance, or other assistance to which the tenant or spouse is entitled is not enough to pay the rent, even when added with other income. The lease termination becomes effective 40 days after the landlord receives the written notice. The property must also be vacated and possession returned to the landlord at least five days before the 40th day. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-9.1.
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Cite

Postby Emeraldstar » Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:02 pm

Hi All
Thanks so much for the info. It's valuable to know. Just my take, maybe this idea of your cosigner's is to prepare you for their leaving? Based upon #3 in the cite & your orginal post I agree with you they should be able to cover their expenses, however keep alert to their intentions.
Good Luck :wink:
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