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A Landlord's Duty To Mitigate Damages For Breached Leases

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. July 23, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. July 16, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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?

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. July 2, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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?

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. June 30, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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.

Unauthorized Acts Of Board Cannot Be Challenged By Non-Owner Third Parties, Can Be Cured By Membership

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. June 11, 2014 Posted in Community Association Law

The New Jersey Appellate Division, in Port Liberte II Condo Ass'n v. New Liberty Residential Urban Renewal Co., et al., recently released a decision that has been deemed to be a major win for both condo owners and associations alike. The Court found that the defendants, developers and contractors who were not homeowners, could not use the condo association bylaws that were intended to protect the unit owners' interests, to suppress those same interests. The Court also noted that the board's decision to file a lawsuit without taking a vote prior to the start of litigation (as required by the bylaws) can be affirmed retroactively by the members and could not be challenged by the defendants.

The Rules Regarding Voting By Proxy

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. June 4, 2014 Posted in Community Association Law

There will come a time when individuals who live in condo communities will need to make certain decisions by way of a vote. But what options do owners have if they are unable to participate during the actual voting process? If necessary and permitted under the Association's governing documents, unit owners and shareholders are allowed to vote on certain matters regarding corporate governance and in board elections by absentee ballot or "proxy". Basically, a proxy is when one person stands in for another individual to cast votes on his or her behalf. More specifically, a proxy is a written statement of an owner or a shareholder that authorizes the holder of the proxy to vote his or her shares and/or common interests at a meeting. Proxies are a very important part of the voting process; however, condo boards do need to be mindful of the legal implications that might arise if proxies are mishandled.

When Condo Association Reserves Are Insufficient To Cover Emergencies

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. May 29, 2014 Posted in Community Association Law

There are certainly some advantages to living in a condominium as opposed to a private, single-family home. In most cases, individuals who live in condos do not have to concern themselves with yard maintenance or other types of outside maintenance related to the condo unit. This is because most condo owners pay homeowner's association fees that cover such maintenance throughout the community. A specific portion of the fees might be set aside for ongoing landscaping, while a separate portion may be allocated to certain one-time expenses, such as exterior painting. Still, some condo owners often have questions or concerns about what will happen if a repair is needed or an emergency situation arises for which the association's reserve funds are insufficient to cover.

Enforcing No-Pet Clauses And Dealing With Tenants With Special Needs

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. April 16, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. April 9, 2014 Posted in Landlord/Tenant Law

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.

The Doctrine of Necessaries

April 2, 2014 Posted in Community Association Law

When couples decide to get married, they often promise to love and take care of each other, for better or for worst, for the rest of their lives. But from a legal standpoint, once a couple says, "I do" in the state of New Jersey, what is really expected of those individuals, particularly with respect to the accumulation of household debt that is incurred for "necessaries?" 

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