ATTORNEY ADVERTISING

Articles Tagged with Habitability

Published on:

Municipal housing code citations can be a nightmare for NJ landlords. A prior post explained how some tenants intentionally or neglectfully damage their apartment and sic the city on the landlord. These housing code citations can be used by the tenant to form the basis of habitability or “Marini” withholding. Even worse, housing code citations carry onerous municipal fines. In light of the dual damage of landlord-tenant habitability withholding and municipal fines, NJ landlords should be aware of the technical requirements of the International Property Maintenance Code (“IMPC”). Housing code violations should be appealed when the notice requirements are not strictly followed by the city. Most importantly, the Notice should identify which party is responsible for “repair” vs. “maintenance.”
Continue reading →

Published on:

New Jersey landlords face a complicated regulatory jungle. In addition to the stringent requirements of the Anti-Eviction Act (N.J.S.A. 2A:81-61.1 et. seq.), Landlords must also comply with the NJ Department of Community Affairs and local housing code enforcement. In Northern New Jersey, many cities (Jersey City, West New York etc.) adopted the International Property Maintenance Code and rely on housing/building code departments to enforce it. Like most laws, the International Property Maintenance Code (the “IPMC”) was designed with the best intentions. In practice, the IPMC can be abused by tenants trying to create a reason to withhold rent. Professional landlords should have a familiarity with the IPMC to avoid being dragged into a municipal quagmire by a tenant.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Hurricane Sandy left an unprecedented amount of damage throughout New Jersey. Many apartments were damaged by flood, wind and other storm damage. Unfortunately, some apartments were totally destroyed. Parts 1 and 2 of this series explained tenants’ rights when an apartment is damaged. Tenants’ rights are much different when an apartment is so damaged it is destroyed. In these cases, an old statute can be a useful tool.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Part 1 of this series described the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under the warranty of habitability. Marini explains that a landlord implicitly promises to provide an apartment free of latent defects and maintained in a livable condition. While tenants have a right to a regularly maintained defect free apartment, they also have an obligation to inform the landlords of any problems and allow sufficient time for those problems to be fixed. In most cases, the repairs are made and both parties are happy. If the problems continue, tenants have a number of options to consider.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Super Storm Sandy left permanent marks on New York and New Jersey. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who suffered a loss. During difficult times, understanding accomplishes far more than contention. This is especially true when peoples’ property and homes are at stake. Both landlords and tenants have certain rights and responsibilities when a property is damaged by a storm. Many times, understanding each position can resolve storm damage disputes quickly and amicably.
Continue reading →

Published on:

“The monster under my bed forced me to leave my apartment.” Two tenants in New Jersey are alleging that paranormal activity chased them for their apartment and caused them to break their lease. As reported by ABC News, the couple is suing the landlord for the return of their deposit. Unfortunately, the only thing scarier than the Boogeyman is forfeiting a $2,250 security deposit.


Pursuant to the Rent Security Deposit Act, New Jersey tenants are entitled to a refund of their security deposit within 30 days “after the termination of the tenant’s lease.” N.J.S.A. 46:8-21.1 However, as in this case, a landlord may deduct from the deposit amounts legally due and owed to him by the tenant. One such amount is the money lost by the landlord while the home is vacant and the current tenant breached the lease. The Casper-loving landlord may not recover this amount if the home was uninhabitable under New Jersey case law. Are ghosts enough to render a home uninhabitable? Unless the judge is Van Helsing, no.
Continue reading →