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
A New Jersey Federal District Court recently refused to dismiss a plaintiff’s claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) brought against a realtor who took steps on behalf of the landlord-client to try and collect overdue rent from the plaintiff.
What happened to the plaintiff in this case seems rather draconian. Apparently, plaintiff was approximately 10 days behind on her rent.» 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
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
In an unpublished decision, issued on November 7, 2011, by New Jersey’s Appellate Division, the importance of drafting a notice to quit in accordance with the law is highlighted. In Sanguiliano v. Walker, 27-2-4205 App. Div., Plaintiff’s summary dispossession action was based on her alleged disorderly conduct and violations of the landlord’s rules and regulations. The dispossession action was governed by the requirements of the Anti-Eviction Act. » Read More
I previously wrote in this blog about the distraint process available to commercial landlords in New Jersey – a sometimes cumbersome process the purpose of which is to put into the landlord’s pocket at least some of the back rent due from a defaulting tenant (see The Distress of Distraint). In addition to the distraint statutes, there are other means available by way of statutes and contract provisions to protect a commercial landlord’s entitlement to unpaid back rent. » Read More
On July 7, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a trial court ruling that where a lease requires a tenant to operate a “quality jewelry store” in a “first class and reputable manner,” the landlord has an implied obligation to maintain the shopping center in a good condition.
In Wallington Plaza LLC v. Taher, the trial court concluded that while the lease obligated tenant to sell only quality jewelry, it also imposed a responsibility on the landlord to keep the premises in a reasonable condition as a tenant would expect if he had to operate a first-class business to make prospective customers welcome. » Read More