ASSEMBLY, No. 4250

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 2, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  DAWN FANTASIA

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

Assemblyman  WILLIAM B. SAMPSON, IV

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblyman  MICHAEL INGANAMORT

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Azzariti Jr.

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes expedited ejectment proceeding to remove certain unauthorized real property occupants.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing expedited proceeding to remove certain unauthorized real property occupants and supplementing chapter 39 of Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  In an action pursuant to N.J.S.2A:39-6 by a property owner in the Superior Court to obtain a writ of possession to recover real property from a person occupying the property in violation of N.J.S.2A:39-5, or of N.J.S.2A:39-3, if the possession was without the consent of the owner, without color of title, and without making any prior remuneration therefore, the court shall, within three business days of receiving a verified complaint described in this section, allow a hearing related to the complaint.  The court shall notify the real property owner or the owner’s agent of the court’s determination.  If the court allows a special expedited ejectment proceeding pursuant to this section, the court shall, by order, fix the date of the hearing on the complaint, to occur on or before the fifth business day following the court’s determination. 

     b.  In the complaint filed by the real property owner or the owner’s agent, the real property owner or the owner’s agent shall certify the following:

     (1)  that, prior to the submission of the complaint to the court, the occupant of the real property has been provided with written notice of the complaint or written notice has been posted prominently on the real property;

     (2)  the person verifying the complaint is the owner of the real property, or the lawful agent of the owner;

     (3)  the occupant of the real property has never been a lawful tenant of the property, and does not lawfully own or possess the real property;

     (4)  the occupant of the real property has never paid rent to the owner, or a lawful agent of the owner; and

     (5)  the occupant of the real property has never had a written lease or other written permission from the owner, or a lawful agent of the owner, to reside on the property. 

     c.  In addition to any notice that the Administrative Director of the Courts may determine to be appropriate, a real property occupant, who is the subject of a complaint submitted pursuant to subsection b. of this section, shall be provided with written notice of the date, time, and location of the special expedited ejectment proceeding within 24 hours of scheduling.  If personal service cannot be effectuated, the written notice provided pursuant to this subsection may be posted prominently on the front or back door or otherwise prominently on the real property.

     d.  If, in a special expedited ejectment proceeding, the court determines that the information certified by the owner or the owner’s agent, pursuant to subsection b. of this section, is accurate, the court shall issue a writ of possession.  An officer of the court shall remove the unauthorized occupant from the real property following the issuance of the writ of possession. 

     e.  The court shall be authorized to extend the timeline requirements of this section, if necessary in the interest of justice, in extraordinary circumstances. 

     f.  A person commits a crime of the third degree if the person knowingly forges a document for the purpose of availing oneself of, or circumventing, the special ejectment proceeding processes established in this section. 

     g.  In addition to recovery of possession of the property, and the damages available pursuant to N.J.S.2A:39-8, a property owner who prevails in an action initiated pursuant to this section shall be entitled to treble damages for all damages proximately caused by the unlawful entry and detainer. 

 

     2.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month next following enactment, and shall apply to an action for a writ of possession initiated on or after that date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes an expedited ejectment proceeding to remove certain unauthorized occupants of real property. 

     In an action by a property owner in the Superior Court to obtain possession of real property from a person occupying the property without the consent of the owner, without color of title, and without making any prior payment for the occupancy, the bill requires the court to, within three business days of receiving a verified complaint, allow a hearing on the complaint to proceed.  The court is required to notify the real property owner or the owner’s agent of the court’s determination.  If the court allows a special expedited ejectment proceeding, the court is required to fix the date of the hearing, to occur on or before the fifth business day following the court’s determination.

     In the complaint filed by the real property owner or the owner’s agent, the real property owner or the owner’s agent is required to certify the following:

·        that prior to the submission of the complaint to the court, the property occupant has been provided with written notice of the complaint or written notice has been posted prominently on the real property;

·        the person verifying the complaint is the property owner or the owner’s agent;

·        the occupant of the property has never been a lawful tenant of the property, and does not lawfully own or possess the real property;

·        the occupant of the property has never paid rent to the property owner or the owner’s agent; and

·        the occupant of the property has never had a written lease or other written permission from the property owner or the owner’s agent, to reside on the property. 

     In addition to any notice that the Administrative Director of the Courts may determine to be appropriate, a property occupant, who is the subject of a complaint submitted in accordance with the bill, would be provided with written notice of the date, time, and location of the special expedited ejectment proceeding within 24 hours of scheduling. 

     If, in a special expedited ejectment proceeding, the court determines that the information certified by the owner or the owner’s agent is accurate, the bill requires the court to issue a writ of possession.  An officer of the court is required by the bill to remove the unauthorized occupant following the issuance of the writ of possession. 

     The bill provides that the court would be authorized to extend the timeline requirements, if necessary in the interest of justice, in extraordinary circumstances.

     The bill provides that a person commits a crime of the third degree if the person knowingly forges a document for the purpose of availing oneself of, or circumventing, the special ejectment proceeding processes established in the bill.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years, and a fine of up to $15,000.

     As a result of existing provisions of chapter 39 of Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes, which this bill supplements, a property owner who prevails in an action initiated pursuant to the bill, would recover all damages proximately caused by the unlawful occupancy, including court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.  Additionally, the bill provides that a prevailing property owner would be entitled to treble damages for all damages proximately caused by the unlawful entry and detainer.

     The bill would take effect on the first day of the third month following enactment, and would apply to an action for a writ of possession initiated on or after that date.