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Pavilion Apartments v. Prince

A-3876-03T1F (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT; EVICTION—Where a lease allows access to an apartment by the landlord to make repairs and the tenant ignores numerous requests and notices to cease, the landlord may evict the tenant.

A tenant in a public housing complex complained to the municipality about conditions in his apartment. The municipality inspected the apartment, finding violations which ordered the landlord to eliminate. The tenant refused to allow access to the apartment. Consequently, the landlord sent a notice to cease to the tenant and warned that he was in violation of the lease. After repeatedly being denied access, and after sending a second notice to cease, the landlord sent a notice to quit, demanding that the tenant vacate the apartment.

During trial, the landlord’s representative stated that upon hearing about the violations, she immediately tried to contact the tenant but the tenant hung up on her. The landlord then left notes on the tenant’s door requesting an appointment to make the necessary repairs. The tenant never responded. The lease provided that the landlord “shall have access to the apartment on reasonable notice to the tenant.” Thus, the lower court found the tenant to have violated the lease.

The Appellate Division affirmed, emphasizing that the tenant was provided with two notices to cease and to allow access to make repairs. Despite these and other follow-up efforts by the landlord, the tenant never responded. For those reasons, the Court held that the landlord was permitted to terminate the lease because the tenant had breached the landlord’s access provision.

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