As with anything worth pursuing, the better prepared a landlord is before signing a lease the better off the landlord will be should any difficulty arise during the term of the lease. Below is an outline of items a landlord should address prior to signing a lease as part of due diligence:
Document the condition of the premises. Take pictures of the entire inside and outside of the property and keep handy any repair invoices.
Many times I have been approached by a landlord who wants to evict residential tenants from the premises because the lease has “expired.” The first questions I ask are: 1) whether the landlord lives in the premises, and 2) whether the premises contain no more than two rental units (in addition to the landlord’s unit). If the answer to these questions is “No,” then I give the landlord the bad news: he can’t just “kick out” the tenants, even though the lease term has “expired.”
Other than tenants who live in premises where the landlord resides and there are no more than two additional rental units, residential tenants in New Jersey enjoy substantial protection under the Anti-Eviction Act.» Read More
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a residential landlord, Anna Mae Cashin, who sought to evict Marisela Bello. Bello lived in a single family home located on Cashin’s property, which also contained another building with five residential units.
Cashin had tried several times in the past to no avail to get Bello, who had occupied the property since 1973 at a nominal rent, to leave.» Read More
On many occasions, a commercial landlord and a tenant who find themselves in court together will enter into a consent judgment as a means to resolve their dispute in order to avoid the time and expense of a trial. The courts provide basic consent judgment forms that the parties may revise to fit their specific situation. A consent judgment will usually contain payment terms with which the tenant must either comply or risk eviction.» Read More
Generally, where there is a final judgment on the merits by a court having jurisdiction, that judgment is conclusive between the parties to a suit as to all matters that were litigated or that could have been litigated in that suit. In other words, you generally can’t have two bites at the proverbial apple.
How does this concept affect the entry of a judgment for possession in favor of a landlord, or a judgment in favor of a tenant dismissing an eviction action?» Read More
If you are a commercial landlord, then chances are you have a relatively good relationship with your tenants. However, there are instances where a landlord and one of the tenants fall into a toxic relationship, or the tenant simply runs into financial difficulties resulting in nonpayment of rent, forcing the landlord to file an eviction action.
What can a landlord expect to have happen at the trial?» Read More
As I may have mentioned or alluded to in previous posts, commercial landlords are not free to simply evict a tenant once the tenant does something in violation of the lease. At a minimum, in those instances where the tenant has failed to pay rent, a landlord must file a summary dispossess complaint. In cases of defaults other than for the nonpayment of rent, a Notice to Quit and Demand for Possession must first be served on the tenant and the quit date must pass before an eviction complaint may be filed.» Read More
Judge Mahlon Fast, J.S.C., a recognized expert in Landlord/Tenant law in New Jersey, recently issued an opinion in Gardens at Maplewood v. Fowlin, statingthat a tenant whose apartment was damaged in the “Sandy Superstorm” was not entitled to a rent abatement for the period of time the dwelling is rendered less than habitable as a result of the disaster.» Read More
I have blogged in the past how landlords who exercise self-help remedies do so at their own peril. The Vitamin World v. Hartzcase is a prime example of what happens when a commercial landlord simply padlocks someone’s business — the business owner goes to court! In this instance, however, it appears that Hartz made a business decision to shut down the Harmon Cove Outlet Center, which had been performing poorly, and offered to relocate its existing tenants to other Hartz Mountain properties.» Read More
It is not unusual for me to get a call from a commercial landlord battling with a tenant who is in arrears asking whether it is OK to accept a check from the tenant for less than the rent that is owed. Typical of most answers in the law, I tell them it depends. Initially, it is important to distinguish between “receipt” of rent and “acceptance” of rent.» Read More