Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in New Jersey

suing a slumlord

I live next door to what is essentially a slum. There is a landlord who has not done a improvement on the house in the 4 years I have lived here. The siding is falling off, the grass is weeded, the driveway has grass grown over it. I have complained to the town and the only thing they did was make sure he cut his grass. This house is effecting my property value. Is there anything that can be done to force a landlord to maintain their rental properties.

Asked on 7/01/07, 11:48 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC
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Re: suing a slumlord

On the facts as you describe them, you probably don't have the grounds for a successful suit. Your neighbor is under no obligation to manage his property to maintain the value of yours. The fact that it may look like an eyesore does not generate a cause of action for common law nuisance. Your best bet is to continue to work through the township but this time with Counsil itself. Your problem is that Counsil has not given the code officers the enforcement tools that they need to help you.

A quick check of the Bridgewater municipal code shows that you do not have any ordinance that requires property owners to maintain their property in good repair. You can find the Bridgewater M.C. through the "Municipalities" entry on the "Links" page of my web site at www.corbettlaw.net. Compare the Evesham or Moorestown codes both of which have ordinances that permit the township to act for the public where a property owner fails to maintain property in good repair. Since you do not have such an ordinance, you have no remedy. Lobby Council to pass one. Then you will have the leverage you need.

See also: http://info.corbettlaw.net/lawguru.htm

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Answered on 7/01/07, 8:56 pm

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