Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year from Hasner & Hasner

Seasons Greetings & Happy New Year from Hasner & Hasner

Landlord Tenant Law – A Tenant’s Guide

How do I get out of My Lease? What Rights do I Have if Things are Broken in my Apartment?

I frequently get calls from tenants asking for advice on what to do when they are having problems with their living situation and their landlord.

Here are a couple of common problems and things you should think about in order to get solutions:


  1. Your lease agreement, of course – If you have a question regarding your living conditions or your rights, the answer is most often found in your lease agreement. This seems obvious, but too often I get questions for which the answer is in the lease agreement, and that person simply did not look. Most important things can be found there: amount of rent, what happens when there is a late payment, can I keep pets in my apartment, can I sub-lease the apartment, who should fix my leaky faucet, etc. **Also, if you are thinking of entering into a lease agreement, I highly recommend you have an attorney review the lease agreement with you so that you understand what is in the lease agreement. Also, the attorney can make recommendations as to what you might want to add, delete or change based on your circumstances. If you do not have a professional look over your lease agreement before you sign it, you could be stuck with some uncomfortable conditions.
  2. Mold – Mold is a common complaint in stuffy and wet apartments. Mold can also be a health hazard. If you suspect that mold is growing in your apartment, make arrangements to have it tested. Often, your local government will provide testing services. If it is mold, you should check your lease to determine whose responsibility it is to remove it. If the mold presents a serious health hazard, it may be a breach of implied warranty of habitability and you may have recourse against the landlord (see breach of implied warranty of habitability below).
  3. Implied warranty of habitability – In most states, including New Jersey, all landlords are controlled by the implied warranty of habitability. Implied warranty of habitability means that, regardless of what the lease agreement provides, a landlord cannot lease a property to a tenant that is not suitable to live in. In simple terms, it must be habitable. Common examples of situations where there is a breach of this warranty include things like no heat in the winter, no ventilation, no adequate light, plumbing or sanitation, no electricity, no potable water, and insufficient security. There are many potential remedies available when this occurs, such as the tenant reducing her rent payment for the month, or the tenant fixing the problem on her own and withholding from the rent payment the amount of money she spent on the repairs. However, before you jump right in and pay less than full rent next month, you should consult with a landlord / tenant attorney and review your lease.
  4. Terminating your lease early – Say you found your dream house or another gorgeous apartment at half the rent you are currently paying. Can you tell your landlord “Auf wiedersehen!” and call it a day? Not so fast. Like everything else, consult with your landlord / tenant attorney and review your lease agreement. Important things you should look for are:
  • a) How long the lease term is for? If you agreed to a 1 year lease term and you are only 6 months in, you are not likely to be able to leave your lease without significant consequences. If the lease does not mention a term, you might be in a month to month tenancy where you simply pay one month’s rent at a time indefinitely;
  • b) What notice do you need to give in order to get out of your lease? – see #5 below, but you are likely to be required to give advance written notice that you will not be renewing your lease a certain number of days or months prior to the actual termination date of your lease. If you do not give notice, you could be in breach of your lease and may even be on the hook for an entire new term.
  • If  the circumstances are such that you must get out of your lease and there are months left on your lease term, you may be obligated to pay the rent up until the end of the term even if you do not continue to live at that premises.
  • Duty to Mitigate – If you give notice to your landlord and leave your lease early, the landlord still has an obligation to make an effort to re-lease the premises to someone else. If the landlord cannot show that he or she has made reasonable efforts to re-lease the premises, then you may have a defense if the landlord sues you or tries to collect for the rent still owed for the remaining balance of the lease term.

5. Notice requirements – If you are a tenant in a lease, the most important thing you should always be thinking about is documentation in writing. Most times anything important that must be done (terminating the lease, paying rent, making repairs etc.) requires notification to the respective parties in writing, and the contract often specifies how this should be done. Even if the contract doesn’t specify that it should be in writing, tenants should always consider sending important correspondence to their landlord by written mail, or even certified mail to confirm receipt of that correspondence. In the unfortunate event that the tenant is called to court over a dispute, that tenant can feel better knowing that she can show the judge the letter sent to the landlord indicating that she intended not to renew her lease rather than hope that the judge believes her story.

The above tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Landlords and tenants have many rights and obligations and other significant things they should consider. So, if you have an issue or concern regarding your lease or living arrangements, call an attorney versed in landlord tenant law to discuss your options.

Contact the Law Office of Hasner and Hasner, PA

To discuss your legal concerns with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, call our office at 856-282-0777 or contact us by e-mail. There’s no cost or obligation for your first consultation. We keep traditional office hours, but are often available for before or after-hours appointments. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request.

*Disclaimer* Content posted in this blog is made for informational purposes only. Viewing this blog does not create and attorney/client relationship with Hasner and Hasner, PA. and/or David Hasner, Esq. If you have any questions about the information in this blog, contact David Hasner, Esq. or an attorney with knowledge in this area of law for a consultation.

Document it With Pictures – and Report It!

Picture this scenario: You are walking down the aisle of the grocery store and you are looking for a frozen pizza to purchase to cook for later. All of a sudden, you are up in the air. Your feet go out from under you and you land on your back in a puddle of water. You are in shock and you don’t know what to do. Well, here are a couple of basic but important things to keep in mind when you are involved in an accident such as this, or really any accident where you feel you may have been injured:

1) Identify what you fell on – It’s one thing to fall if you are simply unsteady on your feet. It is another thing to fall if you stepped in water, ice, fruit, a slippery floor, a cracked floor or some other tripping hazard on the ground and it caused you to fall. Obviously your first concern is your health and well being. But, after the shock of falling has passed, take a look at the area in which you fell and determine if it was wet or icy or if you tripped on something. If this is the case, take a picture of it. You may have a claim for personal injury.

2) Pictures pictures pictures!! – Even your own grandmother has a smartphone in this day in age. And all of these smartphones have cameras. Use them! If you fell on ice, take a picture of the ice. If you fell on water or a piece of fruit in a store, take a picture of it! Take a picture of the aisle you were in. Documentation is extremely helpful if it turns out that you were hurt as a result of your fall.

3) Report it to a manager and get a copy of the report – If you fell in a supermarket, tell the manager. If you fell on the sidewalk outside of an apartment complex, tell the office manager. Also be sure to file a written report if you can. Get the manager’s full name and number and, if the report is not immediately available, ask when it will be available so that you can get a copy. Make sure to identify what you fell on in the report, as well as the location in the store or on the sidewalk where you fell.

4) Did anyone say anything? – Sometimes, a member of the supermarket will rush to come help you or respond to the area where you fell. Did they say anything about the condition of the floor? They could say things like, “Oh, we meant to clean that up,” or “Oh, that shouldn’t have been there.” Do your best to get that employee’s name or have some way to identify that employee for later.

5) Warning signs? Did you notice if there was a “wet floor” sign or a caution sign up? If yes, take a picture. If no, take a picture as well.

6) There are cameras! Surveillance cameras are in use more and more these days. You would be surprised at all the different places they are located. There may even be cameras outside of buildings, in hallways, in supermarket aisles and other places you can’t even think of. So, if you fall, consult with an attorney right away. An attorney can immediately send a letter to the store or residential complex demanding that the videotape be preserved. Often times videotape is erased not long after it is recorded, so time is of the essence!

Also, since you are being videotaped, if you are really hurt, you would most likely not do cartwheels in the aisles and continue shopping after the accident. Assume that you are being videotaped. Be wary of your activity after you fall because it could be used against you in a later claim if you seem to be fine on camera after the accident.

7) Hospital or medical treatment immediately – If you are injured you should always consider either going to the hospital or going to see a doctor as soon as possible. Documenting potential injuries early on is critical in showing that the fall was the cause of your injuries

8) Witnesses – If there are any witnesses who saw your fall, get their names and numbers.

Keeping in mind these quick and easy tips can prove helpful in the future if you have a claim for personal injury.

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions about anything in this post, or any other personal injury questions, please feel free to contact me at or by contacting my office at 856-282-0777. Consultations are always FREE.

-David Hasner, Esq. – Hasner and Hasner, PA

*Disclaimer* Content posted in this blog is made for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. If you have any questions about the information in this blog, contact David Hasner, Esq. or an attorney with knowledge in this area of law for a consultation. Viewing this blog does not create and attorney/client relationship with Hasner and Hasner, PA. and/or David Hasner, Esq.


How Do I Read a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Abstract?

Have you ever gotten a copy of your New Jersey Motor Vehicle abstract, or your client’s abstract, and you have been embarrassed because you were not able to read it? Well don’t be. I have quickly learned that most clients and many attorneys, including those that handle municipal court work regularly, simply don’t know how to read this crucial document. So, without further ado, I will try to clarify for you below.

A typical New Jersey Motor Vehicle Abstract will start with a host of information at the top, to identify the driver, such as name, address, date of birth and type of driver’s license (basic, commercial, motorcycle etc.) among other information. See “A”.

Below the identifying information is the Motor Vehicle Abstract, starting from most recent event and working backwards. The information is organized by row, where each new event is listed in a new row.


Starting from the left hand side, the most recent event is listed. It identifies the following:

1) “Date that the event occurred” (See “B”)

2) “Type of event” – which is a 3 digit code and then a singular letter next to it (See “C”);

3) “Code” – which is a 4 digit code described below (See “D”);

4) “Event Description” – which briefly describes what occurred (See “E”)

5) “STA”, (See “F”) – this is an internal code used by the NJMVC

6) “CMV”, (See “G”) – if there is an x in this column, it means that the violation was committed in a commercial vehicle;

7) “HZM”, (See “H”) – if there is an x in this column, it means that a violation was committed in a vehicle containing hazardous

8) “FTL”, (See “I”) – if there is an x in this column, it means that the violation resulted in a fatality;

9) “PA”, – if there is a column with a PA and there is an X in it, it means the violation is being appealed;

10) “Points, or PTS” (See “J”) – designates whether you added or subtracted points on your license due to this event;

11) “Posting Date” (See “K”) – This is the date that the NJMVC recorded and posted record of the event.

Here is a simplified explanation of each column, what it means and how to read them.

1) “Date that the event occurred” (See “B”) – Self explanatory

2) “Type of event” – which is a 3 digit code and then a singular letter next to it (See “C”);

A) If it is a letter, followed by 2 numbers, that is a code for a specific township court; you need to look at the municipal code
directory, which will tell you which township this event occurred in. See to
identify the township this occurred in.

B) If the code is something like “SUS” or “RES” or “SEC” or “DMV”, that is an event that does not occur in any town, but is likely
instituted by the NJMVC. The common ones are:

a) SUS – means MVC has taken a suspension action

b) RES – means the MVC has taken a restoration action

c) DMV – means that the MVC is taking action

d) ISS – means insurance surcharge

e) CIS – compulsory insurance – usually this comes into play with an accident

Please see the below picture for a full list of event codes


C) The singular letter – provides further information regarding what kind of action was   taken. For a list of each letter and what they
mean, look up the letter in the attached help sheet: Common ones are:

a) “O” – Suspension Order

b) “V” – Violation

c) “S” – Scheduled suspension

d) “F” – Fee Payment

e) “N” – Advisory Notice

f) “A” – Accident

3) “Code” – which is a 4 digit code described below (See “D”)

A) If the code starts with a number, it is the number of a traffic violation of the New Jersey Statute Annotated, Section 39
For example:

                        0340 = N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 or Driving While Suspended
0329 = N.J.S.A. 39:3-29 or No License, registration or insurance ID in possession
4982 = N.J.S.A. 39:4-98.2 or speeding

B) If the code starts with a letter, it is simply a short version of the event description. A little bit of common sense can be used to figure
out the bulk of these. For example:

PC03 = Point credit, annual safe driving = 3 points off of the license for annual safe driving(3 points) (and the event
description usually says “Point Credit – Annual Safe Driving”)

FCIO = Failure to Comply with Court Install Order (FCIO is simply an abbreviation of the event description – Failure to
Comply with Court Install Order

RSTR = Restoration

POLC = Police involvement (typically an accident)

COFA = Court Ordered Suspension, Failure to appear

4) “Event Description” – which briefly describes what occurred (See “E”) – again, self explanatory, but here are some examples of common ones:

    Failure to Comply Court Install Order – Typically means that the driver failed to make a payment with a time payment plan for that
particular court

Court Ordered Susp: Fail to Appear
– Typically means the court in that town put a warrant out for that driver for failing to appear to a
scheduled court appearance

Failure to Appear – Driver failed to appear to court, but a warrant was not issued.

Operate During Suspension Period
– violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40

Hearing Request Acknowledgment – Request for a hearing

No Lic, Reg or Ins ID in Possession – violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-29

Unlicensed driver – violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-10

Failure to wear seat belt – equipment violation

Maintenance of Lamps – equipment violation

Point credit – annual safe driving – In New Jersey, you can get 3 points reduced from your driver’s license if you drive an entire year
without incurring additional violations or suspensions. Here is a link to a list of other ways you can remove points from your New Jersey
license, including taking a defensive driving course or improvement program:

5) “STA”, (See “F”) – This is an internal NJMVC code that has no impact on your understanding of your abstract

6) – 11) – See Above

At the end of the abstract, you will be able to tell if the driver’s license is currently in good standing or suspended. It will say “Good Standing” Or “Suspended ___________” and the blank will indicate what driving privilege is suspended.

Let’s do one example together. Take a look at the very first entry on the sample abstract I have provided (which has all identifying information redacted):

1) Event date – This event occurred on 1/24/13. It is the most recent event

2) Event code – D17 – This event occurred in a specific town. Looking up “D17” in the directory,
, I see that D17 is Gloucester Township.
-Also, the singular letter is an “o”, which indicates that Gloucester Township put out a suspension order / suspended this
driver’s license

3) Code – FCIO – If you look ahead to the event description, it says “Failure to Comply Court Install Order”. So, FCIO is simply an
abbreviation of the event description

4) Event Description – “Failure to Comply Court Install Order” basically means what it says. This court, Gloucester Township, had this
driver on some requirement, most likely a payment plan, and the driver failed to make a payment.

5) There are no points for this event, and the suspension posted on the same day, 1/24/13.

So, to sum up, this entry indicates that the driver had to make an obligation or payment to Gloucester Township and failed this obligation or payment, and Gloucester Township ordered that the driver’s license be suspended effective 1/24/13.

Hopefully, this will clear up some questions you have about reading New Jersey Motor Vehicle Abstracts. If you have any entries that confuse you, or if you have any additional questions about reading motor vehicle abstracts generally, or anything else related to this post, please feel free to contact me at or by contacting my office at 856-282-0777. You can also contact the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, Abstract Department for questions at 609-292-6100.


-David Hasner, Esq. – Hasner and Hasner, PA

*Disclaimer* Content posted in this blog is made for informational purposes only. Viewing this blog does not create and attorney/client relationship with Hasner and Hasner, PA. and/or David Hasner, Esq. If you have any questions about the information in this blog, contact David Hasner, Esq. or an attorney with knowledge in this area of law for a consultation.