Tenants Can be Evicted for More than Nonpayment of Rent

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evictionIf you every visit Union County’s Landlord Tenant Court, one thing is certain. You’ll walk away with the impression that the majority of evictions are premised on nonpayment of rent. No doubt some statistics support your instincts. Meanwhile, you should know that landlords can evict tenants for other reasons than their failure to make good on monthly rental payments.

NJSA 2A:18-53 provides some valuable insight into some of the reasons that represent cause for eviction. Of course, the first is default in the payment of rent. That said, the following are also considered by the court when making determinations regarding eviction:

  • Disorderly conduct that destroys the peace and quiet for the landlord or other tenants
  • Willful destruction or damage to the leased property
  • Failure to comply with the landlord’s rules as stated in the lease agreement
  • Breach of covenants or agreements in the rental contract

In the meantime, landlords may also seek tenant removal if they or other occupants have been physically assaulted or threatened. A conviction for drug offenses on the subject property is considered another cause for eviction.

Tenants Evicted for Assault

A recent New Jersey Appellate Court unpublished legal decision involves a tenant who appealed the lower court’s decision to grant a summary eviction.  Although the court’s written opinion notes that it does not constitute legal precedent, Tamerlane Tamerlane III v Hollis demonstrates how the court might rule in similar circumstances.

First, some basic facts. Tamerlane Apartments offers low rent to tenants who qualify under a government program. Among other things, their lease agreement with occupants states the following:

Any action or conduct of the Resident or members of Resident’s household which disrupts the livability of  the project by being a direct threat to the health or safety of any person, which interferes with the right of  any tenant or member to the quiet enjoyment of the  premises and related project facilities, or that results in  substantial physical damage causing an adverse financial effect on the project or the property of others,  EXCEPT when such threat can be removed by applying  a reasonable accommodation, includes management, or family and their employees.

The lease continues by calling for eviction based on sixteen separate types of “improper conduct” as recognized by the New Jersey legislature.

Initially, Tamerlane provided Andrea Hollis with a Notice of Violation as required by law. The notice gives the defendant time to correct the actions deemed improper. Subsequently, a Notice of Termination served on Hollis stated that the reasons for termination of the lease agreement were based on the defendant’s assault of another tenant and the property manager.

Case Went to Trial

After a two-day trial, the judge listened to testimony from all of the witnesses. Hollis represented that she was attacked by another resident and merely retaliated. Nonetheless, the lower court did not find her credible and described Hollis as a “”a menace, an aggressor, an attacker, and a danger to this community.”

The defendant’s appeal was based on alleged notice violations. However, the Appellate Division agreed with the trial court judge’s decision. Therefore, the lease termination and eviction was deemed proper.

Contact Us

Are you a landlord who needs help with eviction proceedings?  Contact the Law Offices of Lawrence M. Centanni to see how we can assist you.

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