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20% rent increase to have my girlfriend stay at my place in NJ?

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rated:
Hello everyone,

I signed a lease on my own with my landlord who lives on the floor above mine. I now have a girlfriend and she has been staying at my place lately. I would like to sort this out with my landlord, in a lawful fashion.

My landlord is asking for a 20% additional fee without any change to my current lease and to provide basic identification (Id, SSN...) for my girlfriend.

1)I understand that my landlord needs to make sure that my girlfriend does not have a criminal record, and 2) that an additional roommate would legitimately trigger an increase in rent, but 3) is that the case if the person is a girlfriend or fiancé? 4) I pay for my own utility bills except for water and maybe garbage maintenance fee (not sure about this one), and I pay my rent on due time every month.

I read in one of the forums here that a girlfriend might fall under the martial status, which I believe is a protected class under the housing law of New Jersey. See the New Jersey Law against discrimination here: http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/law.html

Does anyone know if I could refer to a previous ruling in the state of New Jersey in order to better negotiate with my landlord? In addition, does anyone know if is there a law in new jersey that stipulates a maximum number of tenants per square feet?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Bests,

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rated:
Well, what does your original lease say? That would be my starting point.

rated:
Thank you for your quick response. The lease is only in my name, as the tenant, and nothing in particular is mention for having a guest at home except the no assignment and subletting clause which stipulates that : "The tenant may not assign this lease, sublet all or any part of the property, or permit any other person to use the property without the prior permission of the landlord. The Landlord may withhold this permission in the landlord sole and absolute discretion".

Is that related to my case in any way? I believe this would apply to adding a roommate, but may not apply to having a girlfriend? Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you.

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raphisidor said:   Thank you for your quick response. The lease is only in my name, as the tenant, and nothing in particular is mention for having a guest at home except the no assignment and subletting clause which stipulates that : "The tenant may not assign this lease, sublet all or any part of the property, or permit any other person to use the property without the prior permission of the landlord. The Landlord may withhold this permission in the landlord sole and absolute discretion".

Is that related to my case in any way? I believe this would apply to adding a roommate, but may not apply to having a girlfriend? Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you.

  Isnt there a clause about guests, and how many can stay in the unit for how long?  If not, you've already rented the space, you remain in the space, and it's none of your landlord's business who you have over when...

rated:
Yeah, another clueless landlord. He rents out the space, he's not charging per person. It's discrimination based on marital status. Namely unmarried. Charging more is discrimination. Laws vary from state to state, mine is pretty simple, 150 square feet for the first person, 100 square feet for each additional person not including kitchens, hallways and bathrooms but living rooms and other rooms are included. Most one bedroom and studios are more than big enough for two people. He could probably have her fill out an application so he has it on file and add her to the lease, but can't really charge anymore. There's usually some department in the state that handles housing discrimination and I think the fine is 10k which may be federal, not state. Once you bring a complaint and they investigate, it's free, no need to hire any attorney. Just point that all out to the landlord and I'm sure he'll drop it.

rated:
Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

rated:
The burden of enforcement is on him. If you refuse his terms, he'll have to evict you and the judge will decide. If the law is on your side, I'd just ignore him and let him sue. It might be worth a brief consultation with a landlord-tenant lawyer to know where you stand. It varies by state and our advice here isn't specific.

This is also why leases have occupancy clauses- to distinguish between guests and tenants, and what happens when you want to add one.

rated:
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

rated:
If it's your girlfriend or fiancé, it might as well just be your friend. You just happen to sleep with them. Common law marriage is not recognized in New Jersey. So, no, the "familial status" claim does not apply to persons you are not married to. So, as far as your landlord sees it, you just got a roommate, and they can legally raise your rent the same as if a friend who you weren't sleeping with moved in. Until your girlfriend becomes your wife or domestic partner, you are out of luck. You just got a small taste of what gay couples have had to live with for a very long time before being allowed to marry.

rated:
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.

rated:
In NJ it is unlikely he can evict you, or refuse to renew your lease for moving in a girlfriend if it is not prohibited in the original lease. NJ law is different than most of the rest of the US in that the landlord has to renew your lease unless there is good cause not too. You should speak with a local tenants rights group for advice. Whether or not the property is exempt from most of the laws because the landlord lives there, what is in your lease, the specific laws of the city you are in, and what the local courts will enforce in practice should all be considered before you make a decision.

Are utilities included in your lease? Does the landlord live in the same property, and are there two or fewer rental units?

rated:
Thank your for your great advise and diligence.You guys are truly knowledgeable.

So, in the state of New Jersey, which does not recognized common law marriage, she is considered my room mate, and a 20% increase would be okay, I guess?

On the other hand, if I marry her now, using the 20% increase I would save, I could buy ourselves a honey moon, and at the same time I could file a discrimination complaint against married couples and the landlord could face a 10k fine?!

Thank you again. Not sure yet what I will do but hopefully everything will turn out okay. Will send a picture from Cancun if I go for the latter option.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.

  
New Jersey along with a few other states specifically has a law against discrimination based on marital status. Other states don't. It's not part of the federal law regarding familial status which just covers being pregnant or having kids, it's NJ specific state law, covers marital status, civil union status and domestic partnership status. 

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-10/section-10-...

rated:
beachteen said:   Whether or not the property is exempt from most of the laws because the landlord lives there, what is in your lease, the specific laws of the city you are in, and what the local courts will enforce in practice should all be considered before you make a decision.
 

  Good point there. Op mentions:
raphisidor said:   I signed a lease on my own with my landlord who lives on the floor above mine.
   Depending on the exact living arrangement of the two units, LL may be exempt from some of the usual LL-tenant law provisions.

rated:
raphasierra said:   Thank your for your great advise and diligence.You guys are truly knowledgeable.

So, in the state of New Jersey, which does not recognized common law marriage, she is considered my room mate, and a 20% increase would be okay, I guess?

On the other hand, if I marry her now, using the 20% increase I would save, I could buy ourselves a honey moon, and at the same time I could file a discrimination complaint against married couples and the landlord could face a 10k fine?!

Thank you again. Not sure yet what I will do but hopefully everything will turn out okay. Will send a picture from Cancun if I go for the latter option.

  Why did you make a second account today?
Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.


NJ rents (generally) are not low so it seems that is exactly what is happening.

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raphasierra said:   So, in the state of New Jersey, which does not recognized common law marriage, she is considered my room mate, and a 20% increase would be okay, I guess?
 

  I dont think anybody in this thread said that.

rated:
raphasierra said:   Thank your for your great advise and diligence.You guys are truly knowledgeable.

So, in the state of New Jersey, which does not recognized common law marriage, she is considered my room mate, and a 20% increase would be okay, I guess?

On the other hand, if I marry her now, using the 20% increase I would save, I could buy ourselves a honey moon, and at the same time I could file a discrimination complaint against married couples and the landlord could face a 10k fine?!

Thank you again. Not sure yet what I will do but hopefully everything will turn out okay. Will send a picture from Cancun if I go for the latter option.

  
You're misunderstanding "Marital Discrimination".  The landlord has to treat you the same as they would a married couple, so being married shouldn't make a difference.  However, Feel free to take a trip to Cancun anyways.  I recommend visiting Cocoa Bongo while you're there.

I don't see where the law clearly says they can't charge more, or on a "Per person basis".  However, 1. (At least in my experience) It would be very unusual to charge more to a married couple.  2.  (If legal to charge more.)  It should clarify any prices on the lease.

You can see you've received a range of advice here.  While it's great to get an idea of your options, I' agree with the other poster about finding an advocate group to ask.  They'll understand your laws and their enforcement better than even the brightest "random people on the internet."

rated:
greling said:   If it's your girlfriend or fiancé, it might as well just be your friend. You just happen to sleep with them. Common law marriage is not recognized in New Jersey. So, no, the "familial status" claim does not apply to persons you are not married to. So, as far as your landlord sees it, you just got a roommate, and they can legally raise your rent the same as if a friend who you weren't sleeping with moved in. Until your girlfriend becomes your wife or domestic partner, you are out of luck. You just got a small taste of what gay couples have had to live with for a very long time before being allowed to marry.
  Then tell the landlord your "other" is gender neutral and a domestic partner since you can't get married.  Let them prove she's a she.  Otherwise, leave well enough alone and don't bring it up again. 

rated:
henry33 said:   Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.

  
New Jersey along with a few other states specifically has a law against discrimination based on marital status. Other states don't. It's not part of the federal law regarding familial status which just covers being pregnant or having kids, it's NJ specific state law, covers marital status, civil union status and domestic partnership status. 

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-10/section-10-...


Thank you Henry for providing this piece of evidence.

A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not married (to each other or to anyone else).

So is this making Greling's argument (that common law marriage is not recognized in NJ state) irrelevant to this case?

@Glitch99 my landlord thinks that they should make more money based on the number of occupants, and to paraphrase what was told to me by my landlord: "it has nothing to do with a water bill increase, it's me providing a roof for an additional person at a small comparable fee".

@beachteen there are 3 units, I'm on the first floor, my landlord is on the second and third, and there is another tenant on the third... It's a townhouse. On the lease, the first clause states it is a condominium cooperative... so I believe the answer is yes, my landlords lives here and it has 2 rental units.

I pay for my utilities (electricity, gas, heat and hot water) and my landlord pays for water, sewer, arbage and general trash disposal.

@devyanks I just logged, and it created me another account... No idea why!

@videogamesaremylife
I agree with you, however Henry33 not only gave his advice but also pointed out the legal text in New Jersey, so I believe this is backing his point

@greling
Yes, agreed with you.

rated:
I also a landlord, however I'm in MA which has a similar law. Lots of landlords try this approach, but if they fail, it's a 10k fine. Best not to even try it. I price my units accordingly. If I get less people, that's a bonus. Charging more is just basic discrimination, that's the definition of it. It's legal to discriminate, just not against a protected class. If you read landlord tenant law, lots of times landlords will try to argue the other side, but usually the courts find on the side of tenant. The extra rent isn't worth the cost of lawyers and the potential lawsuit. Once you explain it to him, he may drop it. Or get some free advice from HUD or the Division on Civil Rights. You should get it in writing, either a text or email that he wants to charge you more because you have a girlfriend/domestic partner living with you.

rated:
To summarize what I seem to understand, nothing forbids you to charge on a per person basis unless you are descriminating against a certain type of people and the state law of New Jersey states that this applies to marital status as well as to domestic partners.

The fact that my landlord lives in the building and the it has only 2 rental units might change what laws affect us,
but I would have to confirm whether the law against descrimination would still apply.

Thanks to all and have a great week.

Ps: my lease does not have any occupancy rate clause

rated:
henry33 said:   
Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.

  
New Jersey along with a few other states specifically has a law against discrimination based on marital status. Other states don't. It's not part of the federal law regarding familial status which just covers being pregnant or having kids, it's NJ specific state law, covers marital status, civil union status and domestic partnership status. 

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-10/section-10-... 

  Who's discriminating based on marital status?  The landlord wants to charge more for another person living there, and there's zero indication he cares if they're strangers, dating, or married.  OP seems to want his landlord to discriminate against single people.

rated:
henry33 said:   
New Jersey along with a few other states specifically has a law against discrimination based on marital status. Other states don't. It's not part of the federal law regarding familial status which just covers being pregnant or having kids, it's NJ specific state law, covers marital status, civil union status and domestic partnership status. 

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-10/section-10-... 

  
But this wouldn't be discrimination on marital status so much as it is discrimination based on the number of heads living under the roof. As long as the landlord didn't make it clear that the reason is because they are unmarried, it would be a hard sell in court.  

rated:
raphasierra said:   
A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not married (to each other or to anyone else).

So is this making Greling's argument (that common law marriage is not recognized in NJ state) irrelevant to this case?

@Glitch99 my landlord thinks that they should make more money based on the number of occupants, and to paraphrase what was told to me by my landlord: "it has nothing to do with a water bill increase, it's me providing a roof for an additional person at a small comparable fee".

@beachteen there are 3 units, I'm on the first floor, my landlord is on the second and third, and there is another tenant on the third... It's a townhouse. On the lease, the first clause states it is a condominium cooperative... so I believe the answer is yes, my landlords lives here and it has 2 rental units.

I pay for my utilities (electricity, gas, heat and hot water) and my landlord pays for water, sewer, arbage and general trash disposal.

@devyanks I just logged, and it created me another account... No idea why!

@videogamesaremylife
I agree with you, however Henry33 not only gave his advice but also pointed out the legal text in New Jersey, so I believe this is backing his point

@greling
Yes, agreed with you.

  

Actually, domestic partnerships are more than that. In most states, they are the legal equivalent of marriage in all but the name and are usually recognized just in that state and in other states that choose to specifically recognize domestic partnerships. Further, they usually require registering with the state and making an intentional effort to be recognized. This is not merely the same as living with someone. You file state taxes together and have inheritance rights and adoption rights transferred among each other same way a married couple would.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
Glitch99 said:   
henry33 said:   
scripta said:   Keep in mind that just because "something" is mentioned in the lease, does not mean that "something" is legal or binding. The landlord needs to protect himself by not allowing guests to become tenants. As long as your girlfriend is not living with you (staying continuously for weeks or months or does not maintain a separate residence) and is not doing anything illegal, your landlord should not be able to make any requests from you or her. He can request, but you're not required to comply with anything that has no legal basis. The only downside is when the current lease expires, he may choose to not renew it or raise your rent more than usual.

The laws are state-specific, so look up landlord-tenant laws for NJ related to guests.

  
Well a quick look up shows that it's a state law, can't discriminate due to marital status. Take it up with the Division on Civil Rights or with HUD. Same deal with terminating the lease or raising the rent more than usual, you still have a discrimination complaint. That's why some people don't want to be landlords. That's why when landlords know the law, they should just keep quiet and wait til the lease ends before doing anything like this without citing the extra person. 

  The whole thing has nothing to do with discrimination or marital status, that was just OP speculating about random irrelevant things.  2 occupants means twice the water usage, which the landlord is footing the bill for.  I highly doubt the landlord just thinks he should make more based on how many people OP decides to cram into the space.  And I suspect the lease specifies 1 occupant and a restriction on overnight guests, although 20% seems like a randomly high surcharge unless this is a really cheap apartment to begin with.

  
New Jersey along with a few other states specifically has a law against discrimination based on marital status. Other states don't. It's not part of the federal law regarding familial status which just covers being pregnant or having kids, it's NJ specific state law, covers marital status, civil union status and domestic partnership status. 

http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-10/section-10-... 

  Who's discriminating based on marital status?  The landlord wants to charge more for another person living there, and there's zero indication he cares if they're strangers, dating, or married.  OP seems to want his landlord to discriminate against single people.

  
Tell it to the judge when you get hit with the 10k fine. If you read many landlord/tenant books, there are many cases where you always lose if the tenant can make a case that it's discrimination. The landlord can say that they charge extra for extra people. But the courts will say that you're charging one price for a single person and a higher price for someone because of their marital status. That's discrimination. If the OP said they were just roommates, then they're not in a protected class so the landlord will be able to do so. Once he disclosed that it was a girlfriend, then marital status comes into play. Lots of landlords try to play games with what they're discriminating against, but if you read the laws and the reasoning of a judge, they lose all the time. Basically you can't charge any extra if that person falls into a protected class. I do understand what you're trying to say, but it's been tried before and always lost. Standard case is trying to charge more for a family of 4 or 6 vs just a couple and your argument is that it costs more. But it's still discriminating against families. You will lose every time. 

As for the three family exemption, not sure about NJ law. In MA, we have laws that allow some leniency for an owner occupied 2 family, but not a 3 family. However I think it just applies to denying the application, not to charging more. 

rated:
Can he prove this is his girlfriend and not some random person he just claims is? Yeah, the whole "martial status" claim falls apart unless he can prove somewhere that the landlord specifically did it because he was married or single. And the risk of him going to court and losing is not only having to still owe a higher rent but also legal fees and a bad relationship with his landlord from thereon. Good luck getting a quality reference.

rated:
Depends if in the lease how many people are listed within the lease. If it strictly states one person and you signed off on it, then you may had given the landlord a waiver. If you get married and do not inform the landlord, then you cannot sue them. If you inform the landlord, and they deny you, then yes you may sue. If the landlord is smart, they had a NJ lawyer write the lease agreement to cover themselves on any issues with the law and discrimination. Not exactly sure why you would want to piss of the landlord; especially if they live right above you.

If I had you as a tenant and you were looking for ways to sue me for no apparent reason, then I'd find a way to get rid of you legally.  Your motives are messed up.  If you do want to roll the dice and sue the landlord, just be concerned about a counter-suit in defamation or something else if your case gets thrown out.  Chances are, it will.

rated:
If you inform the landlord, then that's fine, but it's still perfectly legal in most instances for them to charge for an additional tenant, regardless of your relationship to them. It's when they make your relationship status with them a reason for the price increase that it becomes discrimination. Being married doesn't suddenly give you a freebie to have an extra tenant on your lease without paying more. They can charge for pets too. Martial status and familiar status protections are to prevent landlords from refusing to rent to you simply because you are single (less able to pay), married (more likely to move), or have kids (more noise). It's not to prevent them from charging based on occupancy when you suddenly decide to change your relationship status to sexual and legally recognized.

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You guys just don't get it. He doesn't have to sue. He files a complaint with those government agencies. They investigate and they will fine the landlord and tell him he can't do that. End of story.

You can't write that into the lease because it'd be a violation of state law. The only saving grace for the landlord is that the typical tenancy is three years so they can just hope that the tenant leaves. However even if it's a one bedroom, it's normal to have it rented to one or two people. I'm just surprised so many people think you can charge extra for having extra people. You rent the space, not by the person, you're not running a hotel or rooming house. Do you ever see ads for apartments that have different prices for different sets of people? 

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raphasierra said:   To summarize what I seem to understand, nothing forbids you to charge on a per person basis unless you are descriminating against a certain type of people and the state law of New Jersey states that this applies to marital status as well as to domestic partners.

The fact that my landlord lives in the building and the it has only 2 rental units might change what laws affect us,
but I would have to confirm whether the law against descrimination would still apply.

Thanks to all and have a great week.

Ps: my lease does not have any occupancy rate clause

  
He's most likely exempt from LAD in NJ, since the building is 2 units, and he lives in one of them.  
NJ Law said: Exemptions. The sale or rental of property (including open land) whether for business or residential purposes, is covered by the LAD.

In most cases, the following sales or rentals are exempt from the LAD :

•Renting one apartment in a two-family dwelling if the owner lives in the other apartment.    http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/downloads/fair-housing-dcr-letters-eng.pdf 
 

Enjoy your 20% rent increase. 


 

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NJ landlord here.... If your lease doesn't say anything about an additional charge or fee per person, then they can't charge it. All fees must be disclosed in the lease. You don't need everyone living in the house listed on the lease, unless it states that in the lease (mine doesn't).
If she is keeping her license as her current address, and not officially moving in, then in no way would she be considered as moving in, just because she has a key and a space in the medicine cabinet doesn't mean she's living there.

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cokor said:   
raphasierra said:   To summarize what I seem to understand, nothing forbids you to charge on a per person basis unless you are descriminating against a certain type of people and the state law of New Jersey states that this applies to marital status as well as to domestic partners.

The fact that my landlord lives in the building and the it has only 2 rental units might change what laws affect us,
but I would have to confirm whether the law against descrimination would still apply.

Thanks to all and have a great week.

Ps: my lease does not have any occupancy rate clause

  
He's most likely exempt from LAD in NJ, since the building is 2 units, and he lives in one of them.  
NJ Law said: Exemptions. The sale or rental of property (including open land) whether for business or residential purposes, is covered by the LAD.

In most cases, the following sales or rentals are exempt from the LAD :

•Renting one apartment in a two-family dwelling if the owner lives in the other apartment.    http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/downloads/fair-housing-dcr-letters-eng.pdf

Enjoy your 20% rent increase. 


 

  Not so fast! It's a 3 apartment building.

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This is what happens when Detroit people get confused and try to rent in New Jersey.

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Legal or not, I think it's a really dick move to do. If I had a rental property, and a good tenant wanted a significant other to move in/extended stay, let me know about it ahead of time, and everything (background/credit) checked out fine - no problem by me. 

I wouldn't want to deal with a LL like that.

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dobby10 said:   NJ landlord here.... If your lease doesn't say anything about an additional charge or fee per person, then they can't charge it. All fees must be disclosed in the lease. You don't need everyone living in the house listed on the lease, unless it states that in the lease (mine doesn't).
If she is keeping her license as her current address, and not officially moving in, then in no way would she be considered as moving in, just because she has a key and a space in the medicine cabinet doesn't mean she's living there.

  OP - this is excellent advice.
Simple Q to you:
1. How much is the 20%?
2. how did the LL inform you of his intent to charge 20% extra? Did he serve you formal paperwork or formal email vs it was just a verbal communication. If he served paper work, then I would say: serve him back papers, stating something on the lines "sure, let me consult an attorney showing him a copy of current lease and if attorney says it is legal, then I will pay. If attorney says it is illegal, then, I will provide you such communication from said attorney and also deduct the attorney's fees from next month's rent"
3. wait for LL's response and proceed accordingly

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Is it just me or is everyone going the nuclear route?

If you like the place, treat it as the start of negotiations and offer instead $20/month extra for the water usage.

If you like the place but wouldn't pay extra, just ask him for no increase, and if an increase is mandatory, you will wait out your lease and move somewhere else with her when it's up and see if he folds or not.

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dealgain said:   
If he served paper work, then I would say: serve him back papers, stating something on the lines "sure, let me consult an attorney showing him a copy of current lease and if attorney says it is legal, then I will pay. If attorney says it is illegal, then, I will provide you such communication from said attorney and also deduct the attorney's fees from next month's rent"

 your  attorney != judge

moreover, of course it would be illegal in the current lease as the current lease provides for OP living there paying $X a month.  there would need to be an addendum to the lease saying it is now OP+1 paying $X+20%

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I think GF pics are standard in these types of threads. Helps us all understand the issues at hand.

Skipping 81 Messages...
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Lugs said:   
henry33 said:   
Lugs said:   I agree with all of this 100%.  It's rather ridiculous to jump to using the term "discrimination" in this instance.  What about the concept that when pricing this unit, maybe the LL factored in the wear & tear and water, etc usage of 1 person, not 2.  What about the LL's rights?  And why are we assuming that there isn't an agreement that the unit was for 1 person, and that the LL is generously willing to rewrite the agreement to accommodate for OP?

Did you read the previous messages? The landlord has rights as long as it's not discriminatory. It's the landlord's fault for not pricing it in case there's 2 people. Greater wear and tear and water usage isn't completely tied to two people. I've had tenants that are never around because they travel. Then you have tenants that work out of their home so they're home all the time. That's just the nature of the business. You also factor in things like a percentage of vacancy. You never get 100% occupancy.
  

 I rent out a room in my home currently.  The room is for 1 person because I don't want to share my home with multiple people, just 1.  Is that considered discriminatory?

Yes, I read the previous messages.

  
Every state is different, but generally speaking when you are renting out space in your home where you live and especially if you are sharing space with that person, you can get away with a lot more "discrimination" i.e. only wanting to rent to a man or a woman. Check your state code to be sure.

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