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Sass Belmont Management, L.L.C. v. Poyner

A-4691-06T1 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2008) (Unpublished)

EVICTION — When a landlord and tenant settle an eviction matter by way of a consent judgment, the tenant, in a later proceeding to enforce the settlement is deemed to have waived its right to raise the defenses it might have raised prior to settlement.

A residential tenant entered into a consent judgment of eviction. The consent judgment gave the tenant a “hardship extension” to remain in the apartment, “conditioned on timely payment of rent by no later than the tenth of each month.” Subsequently, the tenant filed a motion with the lower court to vacate the consent judgment, arguing that the lower court “lacked judgment to entertain a complaint. The argument [was] premised on alleged defects in the landlord’s notice to cease, and the landlord’s alleged failure to give the tenant continuing notices after each late payment.” The lower court rejected the request to set aside the consent judgment. On appeal, the Appellate Division agreed with the lower court that after the complaint was filed, the tenant “could have raised and litigated any jurisdictional or other defenses she may have had to the action. However, by settling the matter without litigating the jurisdictional issues, [the tenant] waived her right to raise those defenses in a later proceeding to enforce the settlement. [The tenant] obtained a significant benefit by settling the matter and [neither court] perceive[d] [any] unfairness or other error in ... enforcing the agreement.”

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