I am a student living in a rental by a management in New Jersey. I lost my job due to COVID and have no source of income, I have a massive student debt and loans from a lot of my friends including my flatmates. I literally have no money, I eat just once a day, it's extremely difficult for me to survive in this situation

I was told by someone that I could ask my landlord to use my security deposit for this months rent and they cannot ask me a security deposit again for the next six months. I found an article that also talks about this situation, basically the governor signed a proposal for this, it can be found on this link: Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Providing Critical Short-Term Support for Renters which seems to be valid till March 19, 2021, can anyone confirm this and advise how to talk to my landlord about this situation?

1 Answer 1


To your specific question: Yes, you can instruct your landlord to apply your security deposit toward rent (with possible exceptions for a small property where the landlord also lives, which doesn't sound like your situation). This must be in writing (email counts) -- a suggested format is shown here.

The public health emergency has been extended repeatedly, most recently to mid-March 2021, and the security deposit order remains in effect until 60 days after the end of the emergency. Moreover, a new security deposit cannot be required until 6 months after the end of the emergency.

I encourage you to take a broader view of your situation and possible ways to improve it. Applying your security deposit toward rent may be a useful step, but if you are not getting enough to eat, rent should probably not be your top priority, given the ban on evictions until 2 months after the end of the emergency.

Desperate poverty and hunger can endanger your health and sabotage decision-making. Here are some ideas -- you may have tried some already, but I hope you can get immediate help, especially with food:

And while I can't know your exact situation:

  • Of course keep looking for any other way to earn an income
  • Consider if there might be any family/relatives you can reach out to who would want to help you
  • 1
    This is a really good and compassionate answer. Other sources of food or other practical help could include local churches.
    – Vicky
    Mar 1, 2021 at 10:39

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