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Bida v. Shuster Management LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 14, 2019

MART A BIDA, on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHUSTER MANAGEMENT LLC; SHUSTER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC; 333 FAIRMONT CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Kevin McNulty United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the motions of defendant 333 Fairmont Condominium Association, Inc. ("Association") (DE 3) and Shuster Property Management LLC ("Property Management") (DE 10) to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Also before the Court is plaintiff Marta Bida's motion to file her opposition to Property Management's motion out of time. (DE 13).

         The plaintiff, Marta Bida, is the owner of a condominium unit located on Fairmont Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Association and Property Management have certain rules that owners are required follow if they wish to rent out their units to others. Those rules require that the owner obtain a credit report and background check from the prospective tenant, as well as a copy of the tenant's social security card.

         Bida claims that these rules cause a disparate impact on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, and race. Her complaint alleges individual and class action claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") and the Federal Fair Housing Act ("FHA"). She also alleges a claim of civil conspiracy against the defendants.

         For the following reasons, Bida's motion to File an opposition out of time is granted. Defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint are granted without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate motion to amend within thirty days.

         I. Background[1]

         Bida owns a condominium unit located on Fairmont Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey, (Compl. ¶l). Defendant Association is a condominium association formed under the New Jersey Condominium Act. (Compl. ¶2; N.J. Stat. Ann. § 46:8B-1, et seq.). Defendant Shuster Property Management LLC is the property manager. (Compl. ¶3).

         As part of its "rules and regulations," the Property Manager and Association disseminate a "leasing rider," which sets forth certain obligations on unit owners who wish to rent their units to others. (Compl., Exhibit A).

         Bida, as owner, is permitted to rent out her unit provided that she secures a social security card, background check, and credit check from the prospective tenant. (Compl. ¶¶12, 16). The leasing rider, attach as an exhibit to the Complaint, provides as follows:

The Building has certain rules regarding the leasing of apartment which must be acknowledge and agreed to by all purchasers of units in the building.
Please be advised of the following:
1. All tenants must be approved by the Managing Agent.
2. No. lease may be signed for a period of less than one (1) year.
3. An application fee of $250.00 payable to Shuster Property Management is required.
4. A copy of the tenant/s ID and SS Card is required.
5. Filled out application
6. A copy of credit report and background check is ...

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