Landlord-Tenant Issues

Landlord Tenant issues, in both commercial and residential settings, require skilled experienced counsel as parties are binding themselves for substantial periods of time for the location where they will be spending a significant period of time. Failure to consult counsel prior to entering into lease agreements can lead to issues easily overlooked by the layperson which can have significant financial and personal implications. Many of these issues, such as responsibility for specific aspects of maintenance, payment of additional tax/insurance costs, negotiation of future renewal periods, sub leasing and covenants of quiet use and enjoyment, if not properly addressed, create a hardship to a party.

In a commercial lease, what are CAM charges and are they a concern?

CAM, or Common Area Maintenance charges, can constitute a significant expense. These charges are the amount a Landlord charges it’s Tenants for maintenance costs for spaces/areas shared by all of the Tenants of the building/structure. Tenants should be sure they are comfortable with the Landlord’s CAM charges as well as the rights they have to demand proofs of the amounts being charged for same and the proper percentages being charged in relation to the whole of the space in the commercial building.

Should I be concerned if my lease does not contain a right to an option to renew?

The failure to have an option to renew is a concern for both sides of the relationship in that it removes the prospect of long term certainty in the status quo of the landlord tenant relationship. When included, it permits the parties to know their options as far as time and cost and potentially alleviates the uncertainty of the parties who will have to develop a new relationships with those who they are unfamiliar with.

What if my commercial Tenant is not habitually not paying rent on time, or at all?

If the Landlord had properly negotiated the Lease with the Tenant, the options will include changing the locks, removing their property and negotiating a new lease with a new Tenant. If not, the Landlord will have to undertake a more costly and time consuming avenue of filing an action with the Court.

What if my residential Tenant is not paying rent?

In the residential setting, the requirements are significantly more specific and limiting on the options the Landlord can exercise. In addition, the Landlord must ensure that all of the statutory requirements have been complied with throughout the relationship with the Tenant in order to ultimately be successful in an eviction proceeding which must be filed with the Court.

Under what circumstances can a landlord evict a tenant?

Following is a general list of some of the reasons a landlord may file a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section:

  • Failure to pay rent.
  • Continued disorderly conduct.
  • Willful destruction or damage to property.
  • Habitual lateness in paying rent.
  • Violation of rules and regulations, after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document.
  • Tenant’s conviction for a drug offense.

Before filing some complaints, a landlord must give a tenant written notice to stop particular conduct. Only when a tenant continues that conduct after notice to stop can a landlord try to have the tenant evicted. Also, complaints for other than non-payment of rent generally require notice terminating the tenancy.

A landlord or a tenant that is a corporation must be represented by a New Jersey attorney in all matters filed in the Landlord/Tenant Section. No landlord or tenant may send a representative other than a lawyer to court in such circumstances.