Estate of Johnson v. Blankenship

A-5968-96T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1998) (Unpublished)
  • Opinion Date: July 2, 1998

LEASES; EVICTION—The Anti-Eviction Act applies to owner-occupied premises with not more than two rental units if the rental units are nowhere in proximity to the owner-occupied premises, even if located on the same (but very large) property.

A tenant challenged her eviction under the Anti-Eviction Act. The Act does not permit eviction for other than “good cause,” as expressly defined in the Act. The Act, however, is not applicable to “owner-occupied premises with not more than two rental units.”

For the purpose of reaching this decision, the Appellate Division assumed that the main house on a sixty acre parcel was owner-occupied and that only two rental units were located on the parcel. In the Court’s review the legislative policy protected by the Act was to give an owner who lives on the premises, and is not engaged in large-scale renting, control over the identity of a tenant who lives in close proximity to the owner. Even though, in an earlier case, the Court found the rental units on a 9.7 acre parcel located as far as 300 feet from the owner-occupied house to be exempt under the Anti-Eviction Act, it was unwilling to afford the same protection in the instant matter. To the Court, the distance that separated the main house from the tenant’s quarter’s on this sixty acre property was so large as to deny the property owner its exemption from the Act even though the single property contained the owner’s residence and not more than two rental units.