Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant

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Plaintiff Anna Mae Cashin owned a parcel of land in Hoboken. Two separate structures were located on that property: a six-unit apartment building, and a two-story single-family home built in a converted garage. Plaintiff has rented out five units of the apartment building and used the sixth for storage. Plaintiff lived in the single-family home with her late husband for four years until 1971, when they began renting it out. In 1973, defendant Marisela Bello moved into that unit. Defendant occupied the space with her son. Defendant's rent was $345 per month, five dollars more than the rent she initially paid in 1973. Plaintiff tried to regain possession of the house several times. She first asked defendant to leave in the 1980s so that plaintiff's daughter could live there. In June 2009, plaintiff again asked defendant to leave so that plaintiff's son could live there to be closer to his parents during his father's illness. At that time, plaintiff sent defendant a notice to quit, giving her sixty days to vacate the house. In response, defendant's attorney sent a letter indicating that defendant refused to leave. Plaintiff took no further action to evict defendant at that time. On January 4, 2012, plaintiff, through her attorney, sent defendant another notice to quit. Plaintiff demanded possession of the house under N.J.S.A.2A:18-61.1(l)(3), asserting that the unit was a single-family home and that she, the owner, wished to reside there. Defendant refused to leave, and plaintiff filed a complaint for possession of the house on April 2, 2012. In this appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether the Anti-Eviction Act, which permits the owner of a building of three residential units or less to oust a tenant if the owner intends to personally occupy a unit, could be applied to remove a tenant (defendant) from the two-story single-family house built in a converted garage. To that end, the Court had to determine whether "building" denotes a single, unattached physical structure or whether it includes all structures owned by an individual located on the same parcel of land. The Supreme Court found that the Legislature's use of the word "building," in its singular form, was both deliberate and dispositive. "Building" designates a discreet physical structure, not a number of such structures connected only by the ownership of the land on which they sit. By the plain language of N.J.S.A.2A:18-61.1(l)(3), the converted garage constituted its own building for purposes of the Act, and plaintiff could evict defendants. View "Cashin v. Bello" on Justia Law