Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Union County
Approved for Publication March 30, 2015.
William Winns, plaintiff, Pro se.
Rebecca S. Greene for defendant ( Central Jersey Legal Services, Inc., attorneys).
[440 N.J.Super. 100] DEITCH, J.S.C.
In this action, the landlord seeks to evict a Section 8 tenant based upon the non-payment of rent and " other" grounds. The other grounds are specified as destruction of the landlord's property, and allowing other families to live in the rented unit as well as the basement of the property. The rent claimed as owing is $102 of base rent for July 2014 and $155 base rent for each of August, September, and October 2014. The complaint was filed on September 12, 2014.
There is no dispute that this is a property governed by N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1.
Landlord attached a " cease and desist" notice dated August 27, 2014 to the complaint, which complained about unclean conditions allegedly created by the tenant, and that the tenant had allowed seven family members to live in the basement. The notice also reflected that the property manager had secured the basement to ensure that no one entered the basement. The notice went on to conclude: " please be informed that this is our final request for you to adhere to our simple requests which will result in a better quality of life for your family and neighbors. If you do not comply we will be forced to exhaust our legal rights to remove you from the unit." 
[440 N.J.Super. 101] Tenant failed to appear at the hearing date for this summary proceeding, and a default and judgment of possession was entered in favor of the landlord on October 2, 2014. On November 12, 2014, an order to show cause was brought by Legal Aid counsel for the tenant, seeking to dismiss the judgment of possession, dismiss the complaint, and quash the warrant of removal. The tenant based the application upon: 1) an argument that the landlord lacked standing to sue in that the landlord was Endzone Management, LLC, and an attorney was needed to represent this entity; 2) the landlord " did not adhere to the requirements of notice and case law and 24 C.F.R. § 982.310 and the Tenancy Addendum for Section 8 Tenants." The tenant also asked that the tenant's security deposit be applied to any outstanding rent based upon the landlord's failure to abide by N.J.S.A. 46:8-19.
As this matter progressed, counsel for the tenant conceded that the landlord was not Endzone Management, and the " standing" argument was abandoned.
The issue of the tenant's failure to pay rent, and the tenant's defense, based upon the landlord's failure to notify the Public Housing Authority (" PHA" ), will be addressed
below in detail, as no reported case addressing this notice issue in the context of a Section 8 housing arrangement has been identified by the parties or the court.
As noted above, the tenant asserts that the landlord failed to comply with the notice provisions of 24 C.F.R. § 247.4 as well as the tenancy addendum for Section 8 housing, and that the failure is jurisdictional.
In the first instance, 24 C.F.R. § 247.4 does not apply to Section 8 housing. This is confirmed by the regulations that do apply to Section 8 housing, which can be found at 24 C.F.R. § 982 (" Section 982" ). That regulation specifically states as follows: " 24 CFR part 247 (concerning evictions from certain subsidized and HUD-owned [440 N.J.Super. 102] projects) does not apply to a tenancy ...