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Barbruce Realty Company v. Williams

A-3332-03T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2005) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT—A tenant who wishes to appeal the order of a lower court needs to have raised the contested issues before the lower court.

A landlord sought to evict its residential tenant for non-payment of rent. An order was entered requiring the tenant to pay all past-due rent by a certain date or face removal. The tenant paid, but then stopped payment on the check. A stay was then entered to give the tenant more time to pay. At the same time, the court held that the tenant was responsible for the landlord’s attorneys’ fees. When the tenant failed to pay, a summary judgment was entered in favor of the landlord. The tenant filed an appeal, claiming that her landlord failed to make necessary repairs, that she paid rent in a timely fashion but it was returned by the landlord, that she was harassed, and that the rent charged exceeded the amount established on a rent schedule. Appended to her brief was a printed rent schedule as well as additional evidence of certain rental payments. The tenant also contended that by reason of the eviction, her personal property was lost, destroyed, and stolen because it was placed on the street.

The Appellate Division found that neither the tenant’s arguments nor the documents she submitted on appeal were offered in the uncontested summary judgment proceedings below. For that reason, the Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that it could not consider issues not originally raised before the lower court. It added that if the tenant sought further review of the matter, she should submit an application to the lower court pursuant to Rule 4:50-1, accompanied by legal and factual arguments, the papers that she appended to her appellate brief, and any other information that might support her position.

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