Reader Mail: Delinquent Landlord


Hoboken411 reader Cherie is wondering what she should do about her non-bill-paying landlord!

hoboken delinquent landlord - Reader Mail: Delinquent Landlord

Don’t want to dry up!

“We live in a very basic brownstone rental apartment in Hoboken. There are three other tenants in the building, and are all normal people who never cause trouble, or bother our landlord for minor issues.

Yesterday, a water shut-off notice was left on the front door from United Water – saying that if the bill wasn’t brought current, the water would be shut off the first week of July!

Is there some kind of law that prevents this from happening?

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elainetygerpersonaltStpaddygirlmooshuLM Recent comment authors
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Does the notice say what is your legal recourse? If not, then I would recommend calling the NJ Board of Public Utilities to ask them what the tenants should do.

I used to work for the Dept. of Public Service in NY, which regulates the utilities in that state. In NY, when a building is posted, the tenants have the right to apply for service as a tenants’ association, pay the current charges and future bills, and deduct the payment from the rent. Even one tenant can be the tenants’ association if his/her rent is enough to cover the monthly charges.

I don’t know what the law is in NJ, but the Board of Public Utilities will know.


I am not saying this landlord doesn’t have issues but united water is one of the worst billers around.

Lots of times they dont even mail the bills until after they are due. I have also had problems on buildings that I have bought having the water bill moved from the old owner to me. Onetime it took me 6 months….

As others stated you can not just withhold rent…..

However you could in theory pay that shutoff amount and deduct it from your rent if it came to it.

But give your landlord a call.. It is very possible this is just a misunderstanding.


That would really annoy me….In looking at the outstanding balances from our condo association there are a few units who are considerably behind in their payments. Scary times..


Thanks, LM. And good luck :).


Cherie & Mooshu, I hope things are resolved quickly.

On a related note: my building has not had hot water for 2 days, possibly 3. A few of us have called the landlords and left messages. I don’t want to be a nagging tenant but is there a timeline by which landlords must have the basic necessities fixed?