September 19, 2007
HABIBUR M. RAHMAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
MARY GRANADOS AND JOEL GRANADOS, DEFENDANTS/COUNTERCLAIMANTS-RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. DC-17391-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 11, 2007
Before Judges Parker and Lyons.
In this Special Civil Part case, plaintiff Habibur M. Rahman appeals from a judgment entered on February 1, 2007 in favor of defendants/counterclaimants, Mary and Joel Granados, in the amount of $5,721, plus costs and pre- and post-judgment interest.
Plaintiff was a tenant in a one-bedroom condominium owned by defendants. Plaintiff initially entered a one-year lease in which he agreed to pay $950 per month. The lease was renewed on December 1, 2004 for an additional six months at $990 per month. Plaintiff failed to pay the rent from February through June 2005, and defendants filed a complaint for non-payment of rent, resulting in a judgment for possession.
On August 23, 2006, plaintiff filed the complaint subject to this appeal, demanding return of the previous year's rent plus the security deposit. Plaintiff claimed, among other things, that there was insufficient heat in the condominium and that the heater was noisy. Defendants answered and counterclaimed for back rent and legal fees for the eviction proceeding.
At trial, plaintiff claimed that he told the landlord to "fix the building" but the landlord did not do so. He claimed further that the heater was a problem because it was very loud. He acknowledged that in January he told the landlord that he would not pay the rent because the landlord did not fix the heat and the condominium was not "a livable place." Plaintiff further claimed that he made numerous complaints regarding the heat but was unable to produce any evidence of such complaints except for a letter from the Hudson County Criminal Case Manager indicating that plaintiff had directed his complaint to the wrong office.
The trial judge tried to elicit testimony and evidence from plaintiff regarding his complaints about the heat to the landlord, but plaintiff could not corroborate his claim. After hearing the testimony, the court found that plaintiff had entered a written lease from December 2004 to June 30, 2005 obligating him to pay rent in the amount of $990; that plaintiff admitted he did not pay the rent; and that plaintiff was not credible with respect to the complaints he purportedly made regarding habitability of the condominium. The court concluded, therefore, that plaintiff owed the rent from February through June and entered judgment in favor of defendants.
To the extent we understand plaintiff's arguments, he essentially contends that the trial court's decision was against the weight of the evidence. We have carefully considered plaintiff's arguments in light of the applicable law, and we are satisfied that they lack sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). The judgment of the trial court is based on findings of fact that are adequately supported by the evidence. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A).
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