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Civil Case Management and General Equity

Frank Bosco
Division Manager
Superior Court of New Jersey
Cumberland County Court House
Broad & Fayette Streets
Bridgeton, NJ 08032

Cumberland County
First Floor
Gloucester County
First Floor
Salem County
First Floor
Superior Court of NJ
60 West Broad
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Civil 856-453-4330
FAX 856-453-4349
Special Civil 856-453-4350

Hours of Operation
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Superior Court of NJ
1 N. Broad Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096
Civil 856-853-3232
FAX 856-853-3429
Special Civil 856-853-3392

Hours of Operation
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Superior Court of NJ
92 Market Street
Salem, NJ 08079
Civil 856-935-7510 x8393
FAX 856- 935-6551
Special Civil 856-935-7510 x8214

Hours of Operation
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Vicinage XV Civil Division Adjournment Policy

(Applicable to Law and Special Civil Part Trials and Arbitrations)

Requests for adjournment of Law Division trials should be made as soon as the need is known. A request shall be made in writing or confirmed in writing. In no event, absent exceptional circumstances, shall a request for adjournment be later than the close of business on the Wednesday preceding the Monday call.

Requests for adjournments of all other events in Law Division or Special Civil Part, including arbitration or mediation, are to be made as soon as the need is known. A request shall be made in writing or confirmed in writing. In no event, absent exceptional circumstances, shall a request for adjournment be made later than five (5) days in advance.

Verification may be required when an adjournment is requested.
No adjournment is to be granted without setting a new date for the event. The party requesting the adjournment is responsible for clearing the new date with the other parties to the case. The new date is to be included in the written request or confirming letter with all parties copied.
No adjournments will be granted because a dispositive motion is pending.
Consent of adversary does not mean that an adjournment is automatically granted. Whether it is granted depends on the reason stated for the request, the age of the case, its place on the trial list, and the number of prior adjournments.

Conflicts with courts in other vicinages are verified and resolved pursuant to established policy: oldest cases have priority; Superior Court events have priority over Municipal Court events except DUI trials.

Special Civil Part: Small Claims Section

The Small Claims Section is a court in which you may sue someone (the defendant) to collect a small amount of money that you believe is owed to you. Because procedures in Small Claims are simpler than in other courts, persons usually can file and present their cases relatively quickly and inexpensively, and often without an attorney.

This section explains how to file a complaint, a counterclaim, and an appeal, and gives general information about Small Claims in New Jersey.

SMALL CLAIMS SECTION

Small Claims is one of three sections of the Superior Court's Special Civil Part. The other two sections are Landlord/Tenant and regular Special Civil Part. Small Claims handles cases in which the demand is not more than $3,000 or $5,000 if the demand is for the return of a tenant’s security deposit. If the amount of money you are trying to recover is more than $3,000, but less than $15,000, your case should be filed in the regular Special Civil Part. Cases in which damages are more than $15,000 must be filed in the Law Division of the Superior Court.

If you believe you are entitled to damages greater than $3,000 but still wish to sue in Small Claims, you give up your right to recover damages over $3,000. The additional money cannot be claimed later in a separate lawsuit.

TYPICAL CLAIMS FILED

Following is a general list of claims which can be filed in Small Claims:

  • Breach of a written or oral contract.
  • Return of money used as a down payment.
  • Property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident.
  • Damage to or loss of property.
  • Consumer complaints for defective merchandise or faulty workmanship.
  • Payment for work performed.
  • Claims based on bad checks.
  • Claims for back rent.
  • Return of a tenant's security deposit.

CLAIMS THAT CANNOT BE FILED

The following is a general list of claims that cannot be filed in Small Claims:

  • Claims arising from professional malpractice (for example, alleged malpractice by a doctor, dentist, or lawyer).
  • Claims for support or alimony from a marital or a domestic dispute.
  • Claims arising from a probate matter, such as a will.

WHERE TO FILE A CLAIM

A complaint must be filed in the Office of the Special Civil Part of the county where at least one defendant lives or where the defendant's business is located. If there is more than one defendant, the complaint can be filed in the county where any one of the defendants lives or is located. If none of the defendants lives or is located in New Jersey, the complaint must be filed in the county where the cause of the complaint occurred.

NOTE:

A complaint for the return of a security deposit may be filed in the county where the landlord lives or where the landlord's rental property is located.

WHO MAY FILE A CLAIM

To sue in Small Claims, a person must be 18 years of age or older. If the person suing is under the age of 18, the complaint must be filed by the parent or guardian.

FILING A COMPLAINT

A Small Claims summons and complaint form is available from the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the case will be filed. The summons and complaint can be filed through the mail or in person. When filing a complaint, you, as the plaintiff, must:

  • Give your full name, address, and telephone number.
  • To ensure proper service of the complaint, give the correct name(s) and address(es) of the person(s) named as the defendant(s) in the complaint. It is important that the defendant be properly identified as an individual, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation.
  • State the amount of money for which you are suing.
  • State the reason why the defendant owes you money.
  • State whether at the present time there is any other case involving both you and the other party(ies) and, if so, the name of the court.
  • State whether you will need an interpreter and specify in which language.
  • State whether you have a disability requiring special accommodations.
  • Sign the completed form.
  • Pay the correct filing and service fees when filing the complaint with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part.

If the complaint is for money damages caused by a motor vehicle accident and the judgment requires a defendant to pay more than $500, the defendant must pay within 60 days. If the defendant does not pay within the 60 days, the plaintiff may request through the Clerk of the Special Civil Part that the Division of Motor Vehicles stop the defendant's driving privileges until the judgment is paid.

FILING FEES

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

If you are unable to afford the filing fees, you may apply to the court to qualify as an indigent and your filing fees may be waived by the judge.

FILING A COUNTERCLAIM

If you have been named as a defendant in a case and you believe the plaintiff (the person who filed the complaint) owes you money, you may file a counterclaim. To file a counterclaim, follow the same procedure (outlined above) for filing a complaint, but be sure to do it before the date listed for trial in the summons.

PREPARATION FOR TRIAL

Plaintiff

If you are the plaintiff, you must prove your case. Arrange to have any witnesses and records you need to prove your case at the trial. A written statement, even if made under oath, is not admissible in court. Only actual testimony in court of what the witness(es) heard or saw will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance.
Bring to court records of any transactions that may help you prove your case. Such records may include:

  • Canceled checks, money orders, sales receipts.
  • Bills, contracts, estimates, leases.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Other documents proving your claim.
If you are able to settle the case with the defendant before the trial date, call the Special Civil Part Clerk's Office immediately.

Defendant

If you are the defendant, you should prepare your side of the case as the plaintiff prepared his or her case. Bring all necessary witnesses and documents to court with you on the scheduled trial date.

If the plaintiff does not appear, the judge may dismiss the case. If the defendant does not appear, a default judgment may be entered and the defendant may have to pay all or a portion of the money claimed to be owed.

If you are able to settle the case with the plaintiff before the trial date, call the Special Civil Part Clerk's Office immediately to confirm that the case was marked settled.

THE DAY OF TRIAL

The plaintiff and the defendant must come to court at the time and date stated on the summons, unless otherwise notified by the court.

On the day scheduled for trial, the court may help you settle your case through settlement by a trained settler. The settler will try to help the plaintiff and the defendant reach a satisfactory agreement. The settler is not a judge. If a settlement cannot be reached, your case likely will be heard by the judge on the same day.

If you win your case, consult the Judgment Collection brochure on how to collect your judgment.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

If you, as a plaintiff or a defendant, disagree with the court's decision, you may appeal the case to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days from the date of judgment. You must file a Notice of Appeal, a copy of the Request for Transcript, and a Case Information Statement within the 45 days with the Clerk of the Appellate Division located at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, PO Box 006, Trenton, NJ 08625, and deliver copies to:

  • All parties to the case who appeared in court.
  • The Clerk of the Special Civil Part from which the appeal is taken.
  • The judge who decided the case.

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

You must pay a filing fee with the Notice of Appeal and make a deposit with the Clerk of the Appellate Division within 30 days of the Notice of Appeal. This deposit may be used to pay settlement or court costs if the appeal is lost. If the appeal is successful, the deposit will be refunded.

You also must obtain a transcript (a copy of the record of what happened in court) of the trial. The request for a transcript should be made to the Office of the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the case was tried. You must deposit with the Clerk the estimated cost of the transcript (as determined by the court reporter, Clerk, or agency preparing it) or $300 for each day or part of a day of the trial. You must file three copies of the transcript with the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Division. Questions concerning an appeal should be directed to the Office of the clerk of the Appellate Division at (609)-292-4822, or to an attorney.

Special Civil Section

Special Civil is one of the three sections of the Superior Court's Special Civil Part. Special Civil is limited to cases in which the demand is $15,000 or less. If you believe you are entitled to recover more than $15,000, your case should be filed in the Law Division of the Superior Court.

If you believe you are entitled to damages greater than $15,000, but still wish to sue in Special Civil, you give up your right to recover damages over $15,000. The additional money cannot be claimed later in a separate lawsuit.

Typical of Claims Filed

  • Breach of a written or oral contract.
  • Return of money used as a down payment.
  • Property damage caused by a motor vehicle accident.
  • Damage to or loss of property.
  • Consumer complaints for defective merchandise or faulty workmanship.
  • Payment for worked performed.
  • Claims based on bad checks.
  • Return of a tenant's security deposit.
  • Claims arising from professional malpractice (for example, alleged malpractice by a doctor, dentist or lawyer).

Where To File A Complaint

A complaint must be filed in the office of the Special Civil Park Clerk in the county where at least one defendant lives or where the defendant's business is located. If there is more than one defendant, the complaint can be filed in the county where any of the defendants lives or is located. If none of the defendants lives or is located in New Jersey, the complaint must be filed in the county where the cause of the complaint occurred.

Who May File A Complaint

To sue in the Special Civil Part, a person must be 18 years of age or older. If the person suing is under the age of 18, the claim must be filed by a parent or guardian. A Plaintiff or Defendant that is a corporation must be represented by an attorney when the claim is greater than $3000. An officer, trustee, director, agent or employee of a corporation may be present or defend against a claim of $3000 or less.

Filing A Complaint

A Special Civil complaint form is available from the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the case will be filed. The Clerk's staff can tell you about the proper format for the complaint. A pro se complaint packet with accompanying instructions is also available from the Clerk's. The complaint can be filed through the mail or in person. When filing a complaint, you, as the plaintiff, must:

  • Give your full name, address and telephone number.
  • To ensure proper service of the complaint, give the correct name (s) and address (es) of the person (s) named as the defendant in the complaint. It is important that the defendant be properly identified as an individual, sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation.
  • State the amount of money for which you are suing.
  • State the reason why the defendant owes you money.
  • State whether there is at the time another case involving both you and the other party (ies) and, if so, the name of the court.
  • Sign the completed form.
  • Pay the correct filing fees when filing the complaint with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part.

After you have filed a complaint, a trial date will not be set unless the defendant forwards an answer in writing along with the proper fees to the Clerk of the Special Civil Part within 35 days from the date the complaint was served upon that defendant. If the defendant responds in writing within 35 days, a trial will be scheduled. All parties will be notified by the court.

If a defendant does not respond within the 35 days, the plaintiff may have a "judgment by default" entered through a judgment by default, the court decides the amount of money, if any, to be awarded to a plaintiff because the defendant did not answer the complaint in time or come to court. If this occurs, you may be required to submit an affidavit and other documents verifying the amount you claim. A hearing may be held in court to allow you to prove your claim where the amount you claimed cannot be proved from you documents.

If the complaint is for money damages caused by a motor vehicle accident and the judgment requires a defendant to pay $500 or more, the defendant must pay within 60 days. If the defendant does not pay within 60 days, the plaintiff may request through the Clerk of the Special Civil Part that the Division of Motor Vehicles stop the defendant's driving privileges until the judgment is paid.

Filing Fees For A Complaint

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

If you are unable to afford the filing fees, you may apply to the court to qualify as an indigent and your filing fees may be waived by the judge.

Filing An Answer To A Complaint

If you have been named as a defendant in a case, you must file written answer to the complaint with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the complaint was filed within the number of days stated in the summons (35 days if you reside or are located in New Jersey; 35 days if you reside or are located out of state). You must also deliver a copy of the answer to the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney personally or by regular mail. A Pro Se Answer Packet with accompanying instructions is available from the Clerk’s office.

If you believe that the plaintiff owes you money, you must add a counterclaim to the answer. If you believe that someone else named as a defendant in the complaint owes the money, you must add a cross claim against that defendant to the answer. Finally, if you believe that a party not named in the complaint owes the money, you must add a third party complaint to the answer. When filing an answer, be sure to give the following information:

  • The docket number and caption of the case which appears on the complaint.
  • Your full name, address,and telephone number.
  • The correct name (s) and address (es) of the plaintiff (s).
  • The reason (s) you are disputing the plaintiff's claim. Include the amount of money which you are suing if you are including:
  • A counterclaim, cross claim or third party complaint with your answer.
  • You must also sign the answer and pay the correct filing fees when filing the answer with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part.
If you do not respond to the complaint in writing within the number of days listed on the summons, a judgment by default may be entered against you. Through a judgment by default, the court decides the amount of money, if any, to be awarded to the plaintiff because you did not answer the complaint in time. If you have answered the complaint on time, the court will notify you by mail of the trial date.

Filing Fees For An Answer

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

If you are unable to pay filing fees, you may apply to the court to qualify as an indigent and have your filing fees waived by the judge.

Preparation For Trial

Interrogatories

The Rules of the Court provide for an exchange of information by the parties. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, questions from the opposing party, called "interrogatories," must be answered within 30 days.

Plaintiff

If you are the plaintiff, you must prove your case. Arrange to have witnesses and records you need to prove your case at the trial. A written statement, even if made under oath, cannot be used in court. Only actual testimony in court of what the witness(es) heard or saw will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance. Bring court records of any transactions that may help you prove your case. Such records may include:
  • Canceled checks, money orders, sales receipts.
  • Bills, contracts, estimates, leases.
  • Letters.
  • Photographs.
  • Other documents proving your claim.

If you are able to settle the case with the defendant before the trial date, call the Special Civil Part CLerk's Office immediately.

Defendant

If you are the defendant, you should prepare your side of the case as the plaintiff prepared his or her case. Bring all necessary witnesses or documents with you on the scheduled trial date. You must come to court at the time and date shown on the trial notice. If you do not, a default judgment may be entered against you and you may have to pay the money the plaintiff says you owe.

The Day of Trial

The defendant and the plaintiff must come to court at the time and date stated on the trial notice, unless otherwise notified by the court. Bring all witnesses and evidence needed to present your case. On the day scheduled for trial, the court ay help you settle your case through settlement discussions with a trained settler. The settler will try to help the plaintiff and the defendant reach a satisfactory agreement. The settler is not a judge. If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will likely be heard by the judge on the same day.

Right To Appeal

If you, as a plaintiff or defendant, disagree with the court's decision, you may appeal the case to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within 45 days from the date of judgment. You must file a Notice of Appeal, a copy of the Request For Transcript, and a Case Information Statement within the 45 days with the Clerk of the Appellate Division located at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, P.O. Box 006, Trenton, N.J. 08625 and deliver copies to
  • All parties to the case who appeared in court.
  • The Clerk of the Special Civil Part from which the appeal is taken.
  • The judge who decided the case.

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

You must pay a filing fee with the Notice of Appeal and make a deposit with the Clerk of the Appellate Division within 30 days of the Notice of Appeal. This deposit may be used to pay settlement or court costs of the appeal. If the appeal is successful, the deposit will be refunded. You must also obtain a transcript (a copy of the record of what happened in court) of the trial. The request for a transcript should be made to the Office of the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the case was tried.

You must deposit with the Clerk the estimated cost of the transcript (as determined by the court reporter, clerk, or agency preparing it) or $300 for each day or part of a day of the trial. You must file three copies of the transcript with the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Division. Questions concerning an appeal should be directed to the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Division at (609)292-4822, or to an attorney.

Special Civil Part: Landlord/Tenant Section

Most disputes between landlords and tenants are resolved by the Landlord/Tenant Section of the New Jersey Superior Court, Special Civil Part. The Landlord/Tenant Section is one of three sections of the Special Civil Part. The other two are Small Claims and regular Special Civil. [Separate brochures are available for these sections.]

This section gives you general information about the Landlord/Tenant Section. It is not intended to provide or take the place of legal advice or to answer every question you may have about this court.

For legal advice about your rights, you should contact a lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you may contact the Lawyers' Referral Service of your County Bar Association. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact the Legal Services Program in your county to see if you are eligible for free legal services.

TYPICAL LANDLORD AND TENANT COMPLAINTS

TYPICAL LANDLORD AND TENANT COMPLAINTS

Following is a general list of some of the reasons a landlord may file a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section:

  • Failure to pay rent.
  • Continued disorderly conduct.
  • Willful destruction or damage to property.
  • Habitual lateness in paying rent.
  • Violation of rules and regulations, after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document.
  • Tenant's conviction for a drug offense.

Before filing some complaints, a landlord must give a tenant written notice to stop particular conduct. Only when a tenant continues that conduct after notice to stop can a landlord try to have the tenant evicted. Also, complaints for other than non-payment of rent generally require notice ending the tenancy. You may wish to contact an attorney for more information.

A landlord or a tenant that is a corporation must be represented by a New Jersey attorney in all matters filed in the Landlord/Tenant Section. No landlord or tenant may send a representative other than a lawyer to court.

A landlord cannot file a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section to collect the unpaid rent after receiving a judgment for possession. [This will be explained in detail in the "Day of Trial" section of this brochure.] Claims to collect back rent must be filed in the regular Special Civil Part or the Small Claims Section.

A tenant may file a complaint against a landlord for the return of a security deposit. Please refer to the section on security deposits in this brochure. A tenant may also file a complaint for unlawful entry or an illegal lockout. Please refer to the section on illegal lockouts in this brochure.

WHERE TO FILE A COMPLAINT

A complaint must be filed with the Office of the Special Civil Part Clerk in the county where the rental property is located.

FILING A COMPLAINT

A Landlord/Tenant complaint form is available from the Office of the Clerk of the Special Civil Part in the county in which the rental property is located. The complaint can be sent to the court through the mail or delivered in person. When filing a complaint, you must:

  • Give your full name, address, and telephone number.
  • To ensure proper service of the complaint, give the correct name(s) and address(es) of the person(s) named in the complaint as defendant(s). It is important that the defendant be properly identified as an individual, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation.
  • Give all information for the type of complaint you're filing, as indicated on the form.
  • Sign the completed form.
  • Pay the correct filing and service fees when filing the complaint with the Office of the Clerk of the Special Civil Part.

FILING FEES

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

In addition, you must pay a mileage fee for delivery of the complaint by a Court Officer. Staff of the Special Civil Part can inform you of the mileage fee.


PREPARATION FOR TRIAL

Landlord

Landlord

If you are the landlord, you must come to court and prove that the statements made in the complaint are true. Arrange to have in court any witnesses you need to prove your case. A written statement, even if made under oath, cannot be used in court. Only actual, in-court testimony of the witnesses will be allowed. Prepare your questions in advance.

  • Bring to court records of any transactions that may help you prove your case. Such records may include:
  • Leases, estimates, bills, rent receipt records.
  • Dishonored checks.
  • Letters, photographs.
  • Other documents proving your claim.

If you are able to settle your case with the tenant before the trial date, call the Office of the Special Civil Part Clerk immediately.

Tenant

If you are the tenant, you don't have to file a written answer, but you must come to court and prove that the statements made by the landlord in the complaint are not true. Arrange to have in court any witnesses you need to prove your case. A written statement, even if made under oath, cannot be used in court. Only actual testimony of the witnesses will be allowed.

  • Bring to court all applicable records. Such records may include:
  • Rent receipts, canceled checks.
  • Leases.
  • Letters and notices to or from the landlord.
  • Photographs.
  • Other documents proving your case.

If you have not paid rent because the landlord did not make necessary repairs, you have to prove to the court how serious the problems are and how they are affecting your use of the rented premises. If you have not paid rent for this or any other reason, you should bring the amount the landlord claims you owe to court. Only cash, a certified check, or a money order made out to the Clerk of the Special Civil Part is acceptable.

If you are able to settle the case with the landlord before the trial date, call the Office of the Special Civil Part Clerk immediately to confirm that the case was marked settled.

THE DAY OF TRIAL

Both the landlord and the tenant must come to court at the time and date stated on the complaint unless otherwise notified by the court. Bring all evidence and witnesses needed to present your case. Both the landlord and tenant will be able to present their cases.

If the court decides in favor of the tenant, the case will be dismissed. If the court decides in favor of the landlord, a "judgment for possession" will be granted. A judgment for possession allows the landlord, within time limits, to have the tenant removed from the premises by a Court Officer.

If the landlord's complaint is for non-payment of rent and the tenant offers to pay all the rent due plus court costs before or on the day of the court hearing, the landlord must accept the rent and the case will be dismissed. If the landlord doesn't accept the money, it may be deposited with the Clerk of the Special Civil Part. The judgment then will be voided, and the tenant does not have to move out of the premises.

JUDGMENT FOR POSSESSION

If a landlord is granted a judgment for possession, the landlord may apply to the Clerk of the Special Civil Part for a warrant of removal, which allows the landlord to force the tenant to move out of the premises. The fee for a warrant of removal is located at  http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/forms/11112_courtfees.pdf

The warrant of removal may not be issued until three (3) business days (not counting the court day) after the judgment for possession is granted. The warrant of removal will be issued to a Court Officer to serve upon the tenant.

The Court Officer must give a residential tenant three (3) business days to move all persons and belongings from the premises. If the tenant does not move after three (3) business days from the date on which the warrant of removal was served, the landlord may arrange with the Court Officer to have the tenant evicted or locked out. The Court Officer will tell the landlord the fee charged for an eviction.

Following the eviction, the landlord must let the tenant remove personal belongings from the premises. A landlord cannot keep a tenant's belongings, but can arrange for their storage.
A landlord must apply for a warrant of removal within 30 days from the date of the judgment for possession unless the judgment is stopped through a court order or a written agreement signed by the landlord and the tenant.

A tenant may ask the court for permission to stay in the premises due to special difficulties that moving out may cause. If permission is granted, the tenant may not stay in the premises for more than six months. All rent due ordinarily must be paid for permission to be granted by the court.

RESIDENTIAL SECURITY DEPOSITS

A security deposit cannot be more than 1 ½ times one month's rent. The deposit is held by the landlord to pay for the repair of any damage to the leased premises that is more than the cost of normal maintenance and repair, or for unpaid rent when the tenancy is over.

The security deposit generally must be deposited in an interest bearing account in a bank or savings and loan association in New Jersey at the time the lease is signed. The tenant must be given written notice of where the money has been deposited within 30 days of receipt by the landlord.

If the landlord doesn't return the security deposit within 30 days from the date the tenant moves out of the premises, the tenant may sue to recover double the amount due, plus court costs. If the amount sought is $5,000 or less, the tenant may sue in the Small Claims Section. If the amount sought does not exceed $15,000, the tenant may sue in the Special Civil Part. If the amount exceeds $15,000, the tenant must sue in the Civil Part of the Law Division.

The landlord must notify the tenant of the amount of the security deposit being retained and the nature and cost of the repairs.

If the amount of any damage caused by a tenant plus any unpaid rent is more than the security deposit, the landlord may sue for the additional money.

If a residential building is sold, the seller must turn over each security deposit plus any interest to the buyer and notify each tenant by registered or certified mail.

ILLEGAL LOCKOUTS

A landlord may not lock out a tenant or remove a tenant's belongings from a rental property without first filing a lawsuit and obtaining a judgment. If a landlord locks outs a tenant without first going to court, the tenant may file a complaint asking to be allowed back into the rental property. The court may also award the tenant money damages for any injuries suffered because of the illegal lockout.

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