To the Editor:
Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 128 allows tenants to use their security deposit as rent and not allow landlords to evict them until two months after this is over.
My tenant was collecting unemployment and a extra $600 a week while riding around in his late model vehicle. He took full advantage of this. He was in eviction court prior to the shutdown. The law made me powerless to remove him.
My tenant finally left after not paying four months’ rent. His mother did pay one of his rents, but he still owes four months. He could have continued to stay, and I legally could do nothing to remove him.
He lived like a animal. When I first walked into my condo I instantly became sick to my stomach. It took me four hours to clean my stove. I removed 15 bags of trash and disposed of one-third of a ton of mattresses and other materials to the landfill. Dried feces was left on the toilet bowl and seat. My 14-month-old rug that I had to replace had cigarette burns and was never cleaned. Holes in the walls along with hundreds of brown split bottles of cigarette butts and broken glass left on my deck.
Thanks to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order 128, other landlords are going to have the same issues. My only recourse is to sue my tenant in court. Between past due rent and damages, the total is well over $8,000. The courts are backlogged, so it might take a year or so before coming to trial.
The good news is my tenant left. My wife, Joan, and I spent the week removing junk, cleaning, painting, and replacing rugs. My condo is now looking great and is re-rented to a nice young couple with respectful family ties to Vernon.