Complex Commercial Tenancies Often Test The Limits Of The Summary Eviction Process

Rental Agreement (PD)
I recently co-authored an article, entitled "Commercial Tenancies, Complexities, And The Limits Of the Summary Eviction Process," that discusses, as the title suggests, situations where commercial landlord-tenant matters may be too complicated for the normal, summary eviction process in New Jersey courts. Here are the first few paragraphs:

New Jersey tenants who don't pay, including commercial tenants, may be swiftly dispossessed of their leasehold pursuant to the Summary Dispossess Statute, N.J.S.A.  2A:18-51 to -61 (the "Statute"). The Statute gives landlords the right to seek the removal of tenants who do not pay rent, or who otherwise violate the terms of the lease.  The Statute establishes a summary eviction process, which as its name implies, is "summary" in nature and, among other things, does not provide for formal discovery and typically does not involve issues other than possession.  From the filing of the summary dispossession complaint it is not uncommon for a tenant to be dispossessed within 90 days or less.

However, what happens when a tenant is not paying rent for a valid reason or due to a legitimate dispute with a  landlord? Can that tenant also be summarily dispossessed? Recognizing the limits of a process that by design is "summary" in nature, New Jersey Courts have answered that question "No." The mechanism to stave off the summary dispossession is the motion to transfer to the Law Division, which remedy is exercisable by a court, at its discretion, if the issues are of "sufficient importance" that proceeding in a summary fashion would not do justice. N.J.S.A.  2A:18-60. Typically, matters of "sufficient importance" involve complex issues and/or the need for discovery.

Please check out the full article here

How To Get A $300,000 Home For Just $16!!

by:  Peter J. Gallagher

A Texas man has moved into a $300,000 home in a "well-manicured" section of Flower Mound, Texas and it only cost him $16 to do so.  As the Daily Mail recently reported ("Man Uses Obscure Law To Obtain Ownership Of $300K Home In Upscale Texas Town . . . for just $16"), the man took advantage of an "obscure" Texas law that permits residents to take ownership of abandoned homes through adverse possession.  Although apparently not too popular with his new neighbors, the man is the envy of extreme couponers and bargain hunters everywhere. 

As the article notes, the house was abandoned after being hit with a trifecta of mortgage crisis phenomena:  (1) the mortgage company foreclosed upon the property; (2) the owners simply walked away from the mortgage and the property; and (3) the mortgage company went bust.  Enter Kenneth Robinson.  After doing "months of research," Robinson filled out some paperwork, paid the $16 filing fee, and moved his belongings into the home.  Robinson is now seeking to take ownership in the home under a law that the paper described as follows: 

Under the law, if someone moves into an abandoned home they have exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner.

If the owner wants them to leave, they have to pay off the mortgage debt on the home and the bank has to file a complicated lawsuit to get them evicted.

Mr Robinson believes that because of the cost required to move him out, he will be able to stay in the house. Under occupancy laws, if he remains there for three years he can ask the court for the title.

Staying three years may prove difficult though, as the home currently does not have any water or electricity.  Nonetheless, Robinson appears undeterred.

Not surprisingly, the neighbors have not welcomed Robinson to the neighborhood with open arms.  In fact, since moving in, Robinson has put up "No Trespassing" signs after his neighbors called the police to have him arrested for trespassing.  However, according to the police, Robinson cannot be arrested or removed because home ownership is a civil matter.  Judging by the comments from the neighbors, it does not appear that the matter will stay civil for much longer.