New Jersey’s Truth-in-Renting Law
The Truth-in-Renting law is an important piece of legislation of which all landlords should become aware. If you are a landlord in New Jersey, our office can help ensure your compliance with this law and help you avoid unnecessary exposure to liability from tenants.
For some landlords, finding quality tenants can be problematic. However, it is important for landlords to follow the requirements of both New Jersey and New York landlord tenant law and federal law with respect to tenant screening. There are a number of options available for landlords to be able to make a determination as to whether a prospective tenant may pose a problem during the lease term.
Appellate Division Reverses Judgment Of Possession Due To Landlord's Failure To Follow Notice Requirements
If there was ever a question in the minds of landlords about the seriousness of complying with state laws, the New Jersey Appellate Division recently answered the question in a clear and concise manner in an unpublished decision in the case of Cahn Estates v. Sanchez, 27-2-4190 (App. Div. 2014). Strict compliance with the state's notice requirements is a must and the Court proved this point by reversing a landlord's judgment of possession.
A Landlord's Duty To Mitigate Damages For Breached Leases
Landlords, whether they deal with residential tenants or commercial tenants, are always faced with the possibility of tenants choosing to vacate the property before the expiration of their lease terms. In several states many, many years ago, contract law principles (such as mitigation) were not often applied to commercial lease agreements, which meant that when tenants broke their leases, the landlords were not required to locate other tenants to take over the premises for the remaining portion of the lease. Instead, they could wait until the lease expired and sue the breaching tenant to recover any amount of unpaid rent remaining. However, the laws have since changed, slowly but surely, to include a mitigation requirement with respect to commercial leases. Still, even though most states recognize a landlord's duty to mitigate, the duty is not a practice that is systematically accepted. That said, it is crucial for landlords to understand the laws regarding mitigation and how they apply to them.
Commercial Leases: Negotiating Personal Guarantees
Given the change in the economy over the past several years, some landlords have seen more lease defaults than ever before. That being the case, many landlords who deal with commercial properties have sought to obtain personal guarantees from potential tenants. But what is a personal guarantee on a commercial lease? Simply put, a personal guarantee means that the business owners or individuals who are acting as guarantors will be responsible for making the lease payments should something go wrong with the business itself. Even if a business is an LLC or a corporation, a landlord might refuse to rent the sought-after space without a personal guarantee. Both landlords and tenants should note, however, that there are ways in which to customize personal guarantees in order to make certain that the terms are fair and reasonable for both parties.
What Can A New Jersey Landlord Do If A Tenant Breaks The Lease?
Leases, regardless of whether they are oral or written, generally only last for certain periods of time. Some leases are monthly, while many leases are for a one- or two-year period. Landlords who rent properties typically do so with the expectation that their tenants will comply with the terms of the lease agreement and make their payments in a timely fashion. However, much to the dismay of many landlords, some tenants chose to vacate their apartment earlier than the lease termination date, and when that happens, it can be a nerve-racking experience.
What Can A Landlord Do If A Tenant Who Owes Rent Claims Constructive Eviction?
Landlords are often faced with a variety of tenant-related issues, some of which might land them in a courtroom. A common issue that leads to litigation for many landlords concerns constructive eviction based upon a tenant’s claim that the apartment is uninhabitable. Such claims can arise when a tenant seeks to break his or her lease months prior to its expiration, and without penalty, because the tenant considers the dwelling to be uninhabitable.
Enforcing No-Pet Clauses And Dealing With Tenants With Special Needs
Many landlords in New Jersey and elsewhere throughout the Northeast have placed heavy restrictions on (or totally banned) having animals in their buildings. The reasoning behind the restrictions typically ranges from concerns over property damage to pet bites. That said, many standard rental agreements and leases contain no-pet provisions that will permit landlords to evict tenants who are caught in violation.
Evicting Bankrupt Tenants
Prior to the changes made to the Bankruptcy Code, individuals who were facing the possibility of eviction would rush to file for bankruptcy protection as a way of "buying time" to either make a deal with the landlord or move somewhere else. However, when the laws were revised, landlords were given more of an incentive to vigilantly track those tenants who are in arrears on their rent.
NJ Supreme Court Finds Consumer Fraud, Negligence Causes of Action Exist In Class Action Against Landlords
Landlords, take note--a recent ruling made by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Darnice Green, et al. v. Morgan Properties, et al. might be opening the door to New Jersey renters pursuing consumer fraud claims against their landlords. Given the ruling, a well-versed New Jersey landlord tenant lawyer is likely to suggest that landlords double and triple check the language of their leases. The case came to the NJ Supreme Court on the defendants' petition for certification of the Appellate Division's ruling which reversed the lower court's decision to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.