Tenant's Rights in New Jersey

I’m reading the online guide to NJ’s tenant’s rights, specifically the section on evictions. http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/placeilive/rent/tenantsrights.cfm#ch9

Am I reading correctily in that my lanlord cannot kick me out, even after my lease ends unless I’m in violation of one of those 18 different clauses? In otherwords, my landlord is obligated, every year to give me a chance to renew my lease, as long as I agree to it’s new (reasonable under NJ law) terms, correct?

My SO is terrified that we’re going to get kicked out (once this year’s lease runs out) because I want to stand up for our tenant rights.

This year, again, there is no heat in this apartment, and the super and landlord do not seem the slightest bit interested in fixing the damn boiler.

Right now it’s 58 degrees in here. I have two shirts, a sweater and pants and I feel COLD. Not only that but the temp sinks to 54 degrees in really cold days (like the ones we had a week ago). 54 degrees for christ’s sake!

Is it unreasonable to expect a warm house in winter? Is it too much to ask for a comfortable 5 minute shower (It’s a miracle if the hot water lasts more than 1 to 2 minutes)???

Last year when we had the same problem I wrote the landlord a letter, and tried to reach him by phone numerous times, to no avail. We ended up calling in a plumber on a saturday night because the temperature was below 58 degrees and we had a guest from overseas, and I was sick. We then deducted the amount from the rent and provided the landlord with a copy of the receipt.

I knew that by law I was allowed to do this after presenting the problem to the landlord in writing and waiting a reasonable amount of time for him to do something about it (and this was an emergency to boot considering the temperature outside was getting colder and I was sick). But guess what, he had a fit and demanded I pay up atleast 1/2 of the money for the plumber.

I did so, only because my SO was again, terrified we would lose our apartment (she likes our apartment a lot (so do I really) and it is very close to her work, and as she has no car…).

Well I’m thinking of doing the same thing again. The super has been giving us the runaround, coming up here, jiggling valves and pipes, claiming to have a plumber on the phone, the giving up for the night. This has happenned 3 times already and we’re still freezing, and have to waste more money on gas heating up water on the stove top with which to rinse with (no showers for us :mad: ).

It’s been a week now in this situation.

But now my SO is afraid again. What should I do? And can he elect not to renew our lease later this year out of spite for us complaining?

New Jersey Division on Civil Rights

The warranty of habitability
Landlords have a duty under New Jersey landlord-tenant law to maintain their rental property in a safe and decent condition. This duty applies to all leases, whether written or oral. The duty to keep rental units safe and decent is called the warranty of habitability. The warranty of habitability is based upon common sense: in return for paying rent to the landlord, the landlord must make sure that the housing is fit to be occupied by the tenant.

The warranty of habitability has been held to include keeping the basic elements of your housing unit in good condition. This includes taking care of physical elements, such as the roof, windows, walls, etc.; the systems that supply you heat, hot and cold water, and electricity and gas; appliances, such as the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher; keeping apartments pest-free and common areas clean; and providing security against crime, such as locks on doors and windows to deter break-ins.

Da Law