A seemingly minor legal defect can cost Landlords months of lost rent.
Whether a landlord wants to raise a tenant's rent or evict them for almost any grounds, the proper Notice and service of the Notice must be effected. Sounds like an easy concept to get right but landlord and tenant law is strictly construed in New Jersey. Landlords' commonly make mistakes as to when a notice is needed, the statutory requirements they must meet, and even service can lead to an entire case being thrown out by the Court.
An example is my favorite grounds for eviction, habitual late payment of rent which requires multiple notices but if done correctly can render the result sought by a landlord because either the tenant begins to pay on time or is evicted. Similar grounds for eviction exist to enforce a landlord’s rights but either a landlord is not aware of them or waives them by continuously not enforcing them. Some landlords don't realize that even raising their tenant's rent requires a specific Notice to be enforceable.
What does this mean for the landlord? If there is even a seemingly minor defect in the initial Notice, a new one must be generated, and the statutory time must expire again (sometimes as much as 60 days) before a new complaint can be filed. Then the landlord must wait for the case to be listed again and litigated to its conclusion, this process alone could take another 30-60 days. Net result? A seemingly minor defect in a Notice can cost a landlord unpaid rent for several months. The lesson here is to just do it right the first time.
If you aren't sure whether you need to send a Notice to a tenant, or if you need to make sure it gets done right, call me for a free consultation.
Peter Cecinini, Esq.
Peter Cecinini, Esq. serves Of Counsel to the Law Firm of Karla Y. Garcia. Mr. Cecinini has successfully litigated thousands of property tax appeals in New Jersey on the county and state level. He now focuses on helping New Jersey homeowners save money by proving that their homes are over-assessed.
Peter has worked on both sides in tax appeals, having represented the City of Bayonne as well as homeowners appealing their assessments all over New Jersey. He brings specialized knowledge of New Jersey's tax assessment process to bear to save homeowners money on their current and future taxes. He is a passionate advocate against over-taxation and works overtime to make sure each and every client gets special attention.
Peter grew up Jersey City and is a lifelong resident of New Jersey. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School. His office is located in Bayonne. He is also experienced in the areas of landlord/tenant, criminal, contract law and general litigation.
One of the most complicated subjects in accounting is municipal finance. Clients are often confused about how their tax bill is calculated. It gets even more complicated when the tax bill is paid through a mortgage company.
Each year, a municipality must calculate its tax rate. The entire municipal budget for the year is divided by the entire assessed value of all the properties in the municipality to get the tax rate. The effective tax rate can also be calculated by multiplying the tax rate by the ratio for the municipality.
However, this rate is not usually determined until September or October of the Tax year. For example, the 2013 Tax rate wasn't known in most municipalities until the third quarter of the year. So the town uses an estimated tax rate usully based on the 2012 rate for the first 3 quarters, then the fourth quarter is adjusted to make up the difference of the two rates. It is usually adjusted higher, since the tax rate in most municipalities goes up slightly every year.
But this isn't the end. The first and second quarter tax bills of 2014 are often also estimated bills, usually based again on the 2012 tax rate. So the new tax rate for 2013 often doesn't fully apply until the third quarter tax bill of 2014.
If you filed a successful tax appeal in 2013, the savings for the year are usually applied to the fourth quarter. Whatever amount you overpaid in the first three quarters is applied as a discount to the fourth quarter. Sometimes the fourth quarter is not adjusted, but rather the full amount which was overpaid is refunded shortly after January 1 of 2014. Often the first and second quarters of 2014 are not adjusted to reflect the new, lower tax bill, so the savings from the 2013 reduction in assessment for the year 2014 are sometimes not applied until the third quarter of 2014, in which case it becomes part of the quarterly tax bill. Often the fourth quarter tax bill is sent to the taxpayer before a judgment is issued in their appeal, and a new corrected bill must be requested from the tax collector.
If you pay the property taxes through a mortgage company and successfully appealed your tax assessment, the date the reduction is received depends on your agreement with that company. Some clients have gotten checks in the mail from their mortgage companies as early as the fourth quarter of 2013, but others have had to wait until 2014 for the morgage company to refund their overpayment. I always advise clients to send their mortgage company a copy of the County Tax Board Judgment as soon as it is received, to ensure that their mortgage company is aware of the reduction as early as possible and thus avoid even greater delays in receiving the reduction.
If you have any questions about your tax bill, or your potential for a tax appeal, please call The Law Firm of Karla Y. Garcia at (201) 997-0262.