Landlord/Tenant Disputes and Damages
In a recent unpublished case, Canales v. Yu, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam), a landlord/tenant dispute that started out with the landlord not returning a security deposit ended with the landlord receiving an award covering only a small fraction of the damage incurred, with no costs or expenses. The Plaintiff and Third-Party Defendants (collectively, Tenants) rented the first floor of a residential property owned by the Defendant (Landlord). Issues arose as the landlord alleged the tenants damaged the property and the tenants claimed that the landlord failed to make requested repairs, which resulted in the tenants agreeing to vacate the property. The landlord stated that she was not going to return their security deposit because the property had been damaged.
IMPORTANT UPDATES TO NEW JERSEY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION AND LANDLORD-TENANT LAW
Yesterday was a heavy calendar for the Senate and Assembly. A number of impactful bills were up for consideration. Our office is providing you an update on bills relevant to you. Many of these bills were considered in the Assembly and the Senate simultaneously yesterday. They would provide relief for New Jersey residents and businesses due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Please see the bullet-point summary of the bills that were up for consideration yesterday:
IMPORTANT UPDATE TO - COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION COLLECTION OF DELINQUENT MAINTENANCE FEES THREATENED BY NEW BILL
Our office previously provided an update with respect to S2330, a new Bill proposed in the Senate and the Assembly as a means of providing a degree of financial security to all residents of New Jersey. As our prior blog discussed, the Bill paints with a broad brush in its application to community associations, and apartment building landlords. The impact on these entities, if the measure passes, could be critical.
NEW BILL THREATENS TO AFFECT LANDLORDS’ ABILITY TO COLLECT RENTS AND OTHER CHARGES
The New Jersey Legislature is meeting Monday, April 12th to consider more bills to provide relief to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current bills being considered are varied, but there is one bill in particular which may substantially impact landlords.
COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION COLLECTION OF DELINQUENT MAINTENANCE FEES THREATENED BY NEW BILL
The New Jersey Legislature is meeting Monday, April 12th to consider more bills to act as relief for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current bills being considered are numerous. There is one bill in particular which may severely impact community associations.
Assistance Animals and Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) recently issued a Notice as to the legality and enforcement of animal policies in multiple dwellings with respect to Assistance Animals under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). This Notice applies to a variety of multiple dwellings, including apartment buildings and community associations. The Notice assists in gaining an understanding of the obligations of housing providers and regulators toward tenants and owners with disabilities with respect to the ability to keep animals in their dwellings. The Notice also replaces several pieces of guidance previously issued by HUD on housing providers’ obligations regarding service and assistance animals.
MULTIPLE DWELLINGS, EXEMPTIONS, AND HOUSING INSPECTION OBLIGATIONS
The Bureau of Housing Inspection is a division of the Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”). Under New Jersey’s Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law (N.J.S.A. § 55:13A-1, et seq.), the Bureau of Housing Inspections is required to conduct periodic inspections of multiple dwellings and hotels. The definition of “multiple dwelling” under the Law includes any building or group of buildings, with three (3) or more units of dwelling space intended to be occupied independently. This definition includes most apartments, condominiums, cooperatives, and other, similar locations.
NEW JERSEY PUTS A TEMPORARY HOLD ON ALL SHORT-TERM RENTALS FOR SITES SUCH AS AIRBNB AND VRBO
On March 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107, which closed to the public the brick-and-mortar premises of all non-essential retail businesses due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. It also deemed a subset of retail businesses as “essential” and permitted them to remain open during their normal business hours. The Governor also issued Executive Order No. 108 that same day. In a nutshell, Executive Order 108 allows municipalities or counites to impose additional restrictions in response to those established by Executive Order No. 107, under certain conditions.
RENT FREEZING IN NORTH JERSEY AND BEYOND
We hope you are all managing and staying healthy throughout these difficult times. Governments across the country are taking action to help keep tenants in their homes and stop evictions. For example, evictions are not happening right now in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. However, some individual cities are attempting to take more aggressive action to keep renters in apartments: enacting rent freezes.
SUMMER CONTRACTS AND COVID 19
We hope everyone is doing well and feeling healthy! Normally, at this time of the year, residents and tenants would be in the early stages of preparing for summer fun. Pools usually open in less than two (2) months, on Memorial Day (May 25th this year). And Independence Day is a big day for summer festivities.