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Golbin v. Iafrate

A-3308-08T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2009) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT; SECURITY DEPOSIT — Where there is no remaining security deposit to be returned, there is no valid basis for enforcing the notification requirements of New Jersey’s residential security deposit statute.

Within thirty days after a tenant vacated his apartment, his landlord sent a letter listing “over twenty specific items that he felt were not the result of ordinary wear and tear,” and withholding the tenant’s entire security deposit on account of those items. The landlord did not list the cost of repairing the items. The tenant sue for return of his security deposit and for a doubling of the security deposit based on the theory that the landlord had not properly itemized the deductions. The Court held that “[a]ssuming that such a listing is required by the statute, [the tenant] was not entitled to any relief [because the] statute only requires a doubling of the net amount ‘wrongfully withheld,’ not double the amount of the initial deposit.” The lower court found that there was no remaining security deposit to be returned to the tenant and therefore, there was “no valid basis for enforcing the notification requirements of the statute,” and the Appellate Division agreed.


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