Problem tenant in nj

4 Replies

own a two family in n Bergen, nj and I have a problem tenant. Tenant stopped paying full rent starting June, July,aug,sept,nov and then nothing for December. I know I was late with this by I started legal procedures in dec. we technically do not have a lease because I never sent him a signed copy but we are going under the assumption that we have one. A notice to cease was served to him in Dec. he has been playing the mold game with me and is stating I did not repair leak that he reported months ago. I sent several people to investigate and no one could accurately find the source so I informed them they need to let me know right away next time it leaks and take pics or videos. We had several bouts of heavy rain but they never gave me any evidence. So I am waiting for that but I promised them that I am going to send someone who will work thorough and fix if he finds something. Meanwhile he keeps barking about mold. We did a test and remedied whatever was found. Problem here is that I failed to do a clearance test after the remediation I just did not know that there is something like that. Now it's been 10 days since the remediation and he has enough time to do something with property that may cause the clearance test to fail and me having to spend again for remediation which is very expensive. So I am in the flux there. My other concern is that since our utility close is in common space I cannot lock it and with my trust level with this guy being zero I am afraid he might do something malicious and cause inconvenience to my 2nd floor tenant. I also want to know that since he has not paid rent am I obliged to address all his issues? I mean he could cause heat to stop working and other habitability issues that will force me to fix and cost me. Please help. I have a lawyer but obviously he is working on 50 cases and he will tell whatever is legal

Bob:

Not trying to be harsh here, but it appears the biggest problem here is you do not appear interested in being a landlord.  You have repeatedly cut corners on several very important issues and it has put you into a bind.   Now it appears now you are trying to find a way to cut corners and avoid listening to your attorney.

If you want to get out of this with the least pain, find experts to help you resolve the issues, then follow their advice.    If you don't think you have an attorney who is an expert in real estate, get another one.   Don't ignore their advice because they are just doing "whatever is legal".   

This not a hard issue to resolve, but you got into this mess cutting corners.  To get out you will need to follow the rules and best practices.

I wish you the best of luck.

thank you for your response. I did my best to fix each and all issues that was reported. Turns out this person is a "professional tenant" he did the same to another landlord and eventually got evicted. I did make mistakes by not doing my duedelligence. I am going through the legal channels. His lease is up for renewal and i of course don't intended to renew. However with tough nj laws I am trying to figure how to come up with a "good cause" reason. However what I would like to know is while we wait for court date for nonpayment do I have address all his issues? I mean he is not paying why should I offer to fix anything? He could just come up with issues that forces me to fix. He could basicllay try to screw me in every which way. You are right I guess I am no thanks cut out for this. I am just too nice. 

Talk to your lawyer and follow their advice.

In many states if the property has serious problems, the tenant can legally withhold paying rent until they are resolved.  Your lawyer should know the ins and outs of your state and municipality.

You are actually lucky that your lease is ending soon.  It may be cheaper to get them out that way.   You may be able to make a deal with the tenant that if they leave soon you won't seek a judgement order against them upon eviction.  Again, I would ask your lawyer about this.

Good luck.

thanks for your reply.property does not really have too many problems but he is raising all these issues about mold etc. my parents who actually owners of the property and are interested in moving back in. Would it be difficult to remove these tenants if the owners want to move back in. From all likelyhood these tenants are going to fight till the end. 

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