Does the Consumer Fraud Act apply in Landlord Tenant matters?

In an unpublished decision just out this week entited, Street v. Hothem, App Div A-5077-10T3,  the Appellate Division reaffirmed that the Consumer Fraud Act can apply to the landlord/tenant relationship.  The case dealt with a landlord’s violations of the Truth in Renting Act.  The Truth in Renting Act provides, in part, that “No landlord shall offer to any tenant or prospective tenant or enter into any written lease after the effective dates of this act which includes a lease provision which violates clearly established legal rights of tenants or responsibilities of landlords as established by the law of this State at the time the lease is signed.”  It is important that lease provisions are carefully reviewed by both parties to the lease to determine compliance with New Jersey law.  There is no requirement that a landlord intend to commit an unlawful act or intend to deceive the tenant, just by incorporating a provision which violates a party’s rights or negates a landlord’s obligation, can subject the other party to the Consumer Fraud Act. The case can be accessed here:

Darrell M. Felsenstein, a partner and Chair of WJ&L’s Litigation Department.

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