The landlord is a limited liability company or a corporation. Does the landlord have to be represented by an attorney in eviction actions?

Yes. A limited liability company or a corporation must be represented by an attorney in all eviction actions.

May I accept rent payments after the eviction summons and complaint is filed?

Yes. Up until the day of court, a landlord may accept a partial payment and must accept payment in full. After the court date, do not accept a payment unless it is in full, or there is a written agreement signed and filed with the court.

May I lock out the tenant myself after the Court date?

No. A warrant of removal must be applied for after the judgment of possession is entered, either by default or by trial. A Court Officer must assist the landlord with the lockout.

What happens to any property left by my tenant after the eviction? May I throw it away?

No. A special notice must be sent to your tenant pursuant to the Abandoned Property Act. If the tenant did not provide a forwarding address, in order to protect your rights, you must send the notice to the last known address. You may temporarily place the belongings in storage and charge a reasonable storage fee to the tenant. After the appropriate time passes, you may dispose of any abandoned property.

My tenant always pays the rent late. What can I do?

You must send a notice for habitual late payment of rent. As with any other legal notice to the tenant, it must be properly worded and served. Each time the tenant pays late thereafter (even if only a day late), a follow-up notice must be sent advising the tenant that the continued acceptance of late payments is without prejudice to your rights as a landlord. If the late payment practice continues, and all the notices have been given, a landlord may file for eviction of the tenant.

My tenant moved out, causing damages or owed rent. Do I need to return the security deposit?

You can deduct from the security deposit any money which would be due per the lease or for damages. However, you should send a letter to the tenant via certified mail explaining the deductions. If the tenant is owed any money, the letter with the return must be sent within 30 days of a residential tenant vacating.

Commercial Real Estate

I want to purchase an investment property. What is involved?

Usually, a letter of intent is drafted and signed. An attorney then negotiates and drafts a contract. A mortgage is applied for. Due diligence, inspections and environmental testing take place. Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., will guide you through the entire process through closing.

I received a notice of violation pertaining to my property. What do I have to do?

Immediately contact your attorney, and make sure that the violation is abated. There may be a short legal timeframe to respond, often less than two weeks. A hearing may need to be requested before the Office of Administrative Law if the violation came from the Department of Community Affairs. If the violation was issued by a construction or sub-code official, an appeal may need to be filed to the Construction Board of Appeals. If a local inspector issued the violation, a summons may be issued and defenses raised in the Municipal Court.

Somebody has not paid me the money I lent to buy a property. What can I do?

The lender has several options. A lender can foreclose upon the mortgage and sue for the money. For a residential mortgage, the lender must first foreclose, before a lawsuit can be brought. If there are tenants in the property, a receiver can be appointed to collect the rents, manage the property, and pay the bills.

I want to purchase a note from a lender where the borrower defaulted. What needs to be done?

The note can be purchased in a simple transaction. You will now be the new lender and have the option to foreclose on the mortgage, or to negotiate with the borrower to give you a deed in lieu of foreclosure. There are potentially many legal pitfalls, and Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., can guide you through the process.

Residential Transactions

If I am purchasing or selling a home, should I hire an attorney to oversee the process?

Since you will be signing contracts and a substantial amount of money will likely be involved, it is strongly recommended that you retain a qualified and experienced real estate attorney to protect your interests and ensure that the entire process is legal and valid.

I want to buy or sell a house without a realtor. What do I do?

You can negotiate the purchase or sale on your own. An attorney can then negotiate and draft the contract. Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., can guide you through the period until closing and perform many of the same tasks that a realtor would do in this process.

I want to buy or sell a house, and there is a realtor. How do you communicate with the realtor?

Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., is known in the industry for his excellent communication with real estate agents and brokers. He informs them of the status at every step of the way, and with the client’s permission, sends copies of all correspondence and e-mails to the realtor so that a team is formed, and the transaction goes smoothly.

As a seller, do I need to disclose defects to the buyer?

Yes. Your real estate agent should have you complete a seller’s disclosure statement, which will be given to the buyer. If you fail to disclose defects, a buyer may have a claim against you.

Is there anything I should do before purchasing a property or land?

The title should be searched to ensure that the property is free and clear of any claims or liens. A qualified real estate attorney can do this for you and ensure that it’s safe to go ahead and purchase the property or land you’re interested in. Always make sure that an environmental assessment is conducted, and a “sweep” is done to check for the presence of an underground oil storage tank.

Business Transactions

I want to buy a business. What do I have to do?

Exactly what is being purchased, and the business or the company that owns it, must be decided. A contract is drafted and negotiated. A new business, such as a limited liability company or corporation, may be formed. Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., will guide you through the process, including negotiating the contract, forming the company, negotiating agreements between the owner of the company and with management or employees, and closing both the loan financing and the contract.

I want to buy a franchise. What do I have to do?

If it is an existing location, in addition to the business purchase, approval must be obtained from the Franchisor. Whether it is an existing or a new franchise location, you will need to buy the real estate as well, or negotiate for the transfer of the lease. Jonathan R. Mehl, Esq., knows how to handle these types of transactions.