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Macindoe v. Weiss

A-1501-01T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2002) (Unpublished)

SIDEWALKS— A homeowner who lives in the house but rents out two apartments and parking space in the house’s garage, still qualifies for the immunity afforded to homeowners from slips caused by an icy sidewalk.

A man “suffered personal injuries when he slipped and fell on ice on a sidewalk in front of a three-story house.” The owner lived in part of the first floor of the house and rented the other two rooms on that floor to college students. “She also rent[ed] the third floor to her sister-in-law and four rooms on the second floor to another tenant.” In addition, she rented parking spaces in her garage. The injured party asserted that these activities were those of a commercial landlord. The lower court and the Appellate Division disagreed, pointing out that the New Jersey Supreme Court “had no intention to subsume small owner-occupied dwellings, such as two or three-family homes, within the classification of commercial property” and “therefore that the owner of such a dwelling is not subject to tort liability to a person who falls on a sidewalk abutting such a property.” Essentially, each court felt that regardless of the various tenants, this was a small owner-occupied dwelling.

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