Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Morristown Hyatt Gets a Tax Refund with Successful Freeze Act Application

In Fifth Roc Jersey Associates, L.L.C. v. Town of Morristown, Fifth Roc, the owner of the Morristown Hyatt, represented by my colleagues Carl Weisenfeld and Nick Pellitta, successfully challenged an $8 million “added assessment” by the Town of Morristown on its property for 2009,  under the “Freeze Act,” N.J.S.A. 54:51A-8, which provides:

Where a judgment not subject to further appeal has been rendered by the Tax Court involving real property, the judgment shall be conclusive and binding upon the municipal assessor and the taxing district, parties to the proceeding, for the assessment year and for the two assessment years succeeding the assessment year covered by the final judgment, except as to changes in the value of the property occurring after the assessment date.

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The Landlord’s Liens

I previously wrote in this blog about the distraint process available to commercial landlords in New Jersey – a sometimes cumbersome process the purpose of which is to put into the landlord’s pocket at least some of the back rent due from a defaulting tenant (see The Distress of Distraint). In addition to the distraint statutes, there are other means available by way of statutes and contract provisions to protect a commercial landlord’s entitlement to unpaid back rent. 

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For Those Affected by Hurricane Irene: EDA Will Help Hurricane-Ravaged Businesses Rebuild

On September 6, the NJ EDA approved an emergency measure to make it easier for businesses that were destroyed by Hurricane Irene to receive upfront cash to rebuild while waiting for the insurance money to arrive. The unanimously approved changes to EDA’s Main Street program include an increase in the line of credit from $250,000 to $500,000 for businesses that have insurance, and to have more banks participate in the program, from the current 14 to 44. “What businesses need most are to build back inventory, buy equipment and fix up their businesses,” said Caren S. Franzini, CEO of the state EDA. “It often takes a long time for the insurance payments to come through. These businesses have been hit so hard; we should help out as best we can.”

Access to a Neighbor’s Property for Remediation Purposes

New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the country and the mid-Atlantic corridor to the Northeast. It is legendary for some of its environmental problems, and consequently, is a favorite target of stand-up comics. All joking aside, New Jerseyhas no shortage of commercial properties that are in need of environmental remediation, and that have contamination migrating onto other properties.  How does the owner of such a property legally gain access to the adjoining property in order to clean up any contamination that may have migrated there?

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Commercial Landlord Has an Implied Obligation to Maintain Shopping Center

On July 7, 2011, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a trial court ruling that where a lease requires a tenant to operate a “quality jewelry store” in a “first class and reputable manner,” the landlord has an implied obligation to maintain the shopping center in a good condition.

In Wallington Plaza LLC v. Taher, the trial court concluded that while the lease obligated tenant to sell only quality jewelry, it also imposed a responsibility on the landlord to keep the premises in a reasonable condition as a tenant would expect if he had to operate a first-class business to make prospective customers welcome.  According to the tenant, during the years immediately preceding tenant vacating the premises, the shopping center’s parking lot fell into disrepair. More importantly, many key tenants closed and vacated the shopping center.  The tenant, faced with considerably reduced traffic and an unattractive setting, vacated his store.  The landlord sued for 6 months rent.

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IN THE NEWS: Bill Being Debated by New Jersey Leaders Would Decrease Municipal Oversight reports: Bill passed by state Senate, headed to the Assembly in the Fall, would prevent municipalities from conducting routine inspections of apartment buildings or charge for them, making those duties the sole domain of the state.  Opponents of the bill say the municipal inspections save lives.  Meanwhile, supporters say the municipal inspections are redundant and an unnecessary cost.

N.J. leaders clash over bill that would decrease municipal oversight of apartment buildings

Brownfields Fund Is Shut Down

The State announced Thursday, June 2, 2011, that the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF), which helps developers and communities clean up brownfields sites, has run out of funds and is being shut down.  Although the HDSRF is supposed to receive constitutionally dedicated funding via the corporate business tax, the Christie Administration proposes to divert any new monies generated by that tax to balance next year’s budget.  According to DEP Deputy Commissioner Irene Kropp, the state cannot afford to fund the $71 million worth of projects awaiting approval, and no new applications will be considered until the backlog is cleared. “We’re very sensitive to the fact that some developers’ financing could be contingent upon the funding,” Kropp told the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. She said the DEP and the NJ EDA are working to change the program in an effort to keep it alive.

IN THE NEWS: New Jersey’s Retail Space Vacancy Rate Up

NJ BIZ reports: “The retail space vacancy rate has increased to 9.3 percent along the major highway shopping corridors of northern and central New Jersey, from 8.9 percent in 2010 and 7.8 percent in 2009, according to an annual survey by R.J. Brunelli & Co. that predicted vacancy rates will start to decline, and rents increase, in 2012.”  The annual survey attributed bulk of the vacancies to two of three major bankruptcies — Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Blockbuster Video (Borders Group has only closed one Borders store so far closed in area covered by the survey).  Richard J. Brunelli, president of the firm, expects vacancies to be absorbed by businesses looking to expand that will be attracted to “New Jersey’s dense population and high household income.”

Retail vacancy rate climbs, but relief expected, survey finds

Employee Injured on Commercial Premises May Sue Employer’s Partner Which Leased the Premises

Under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers are assured of relatively swift and certain compensation payments in exchange for relinquishing their rights to pursue a potentially larger recovery in a common law action. This concept is known in legal circles as the “workers’ compensation bar.”  This bar does not, however, preclude an injured employee from suing a third party for negligence that contributed to the accident.

Sometimes questions arise as to whom the workers’ compensation bar will be extended.

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IN THE NEWS: Landlords and Investors Cautiously Optmistic About NJ Commercial Real Estate Market

NJ BIZ reports: According to Colliers International’s first-quarter “Flash Report,” both landlords and investors are cautiously optimistic about the northern and central New Jersey commercial real estate market.