As a landlord can you evict someone for destruction to your property?

Submitted by New Jersey Civil Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

And this November 1, 2018 approval for publication decision the landlord moved to evict a person who was allowed to live and a home by the tenant but who was not on the lease.

NJSA 2A:18 –61.1 (C) enables a landlord to regain possession of a lease property upon proving willful or gross neglectful conduct which includes causing or allowing destruction or damage to a premises.

In this case the landlord leased a rent controlled property on a month to month basis. to a tenant. Thereafter the tenant allowed another person to live in the property and that person caused damage to the landlord’s rear door. At trial the sub tenant agreed that he paid the tenant money to live in the property even though there was no sublease and no sublease authorizing the tenant to live in the property. The tenant did not dispute that he caused the damage to the property. He argued that because there was no sublease he was not subject to the anti-damage provision of the New Jersey anti-eviction statute listed above. The landlord sent a letter terminating the lease pursuant to the destruction of property clause and the statute identified above.

The trial judge after a hearing signed the judgment of possession.The appellate court affirmed the trial judges judgment of possession and dismissed the defendants argument. The statute identified as “person “as the one causing the damage and does not specifically identify that “person “as a lessee, or sub-lessee whether or not on the lease.As a result of the appellate  judge affirmed the Trial judges finding and enabled the judgment of possession to be entered. The tenant also argued there notice to quit was insufficient because it did not identify the “cause of damage “.

The appellate court found the notice to be sufficient detail with regards to the nature of the damage even though it did not specify the person who caused that damage. In other words because the landlord did not know who caused the damage he nearly had to identify the tenant as the person and possession of the property as the responsible party. However, This appellate court noted the landlord must strictly comply with the notice requirements and that “substantial compliance “ is not enough. So, you have to identify the specific nature of the damage and identify the person who caused the damage as specifically as possible given the individual circumstances.

Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.
609-471-1959. Cell
856-354-0050 Office

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Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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