Thomas S. Onder

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Thomas S. Onder is a Shareholder and member in both the Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy & Creditor's Rights groups of Stark & Stark. He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, secured transactions, and bankruptcy before federal and state courts in New York and New Jersey. Mr. Onder deals extensively with problems and opportunities created by business insolvencies, representing (both in bankruptcy cases and out-of-court) a wide variety of creditors.

Mr. Onder is regularly involved in bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy forums representing commercial landlords, financial institutions, franchisors and trade creditors in a variety of matters, including the prosecution of commercial eviction and collection actions, pursuing promissory note and guaranties obligations for financial institutions, replevin actions for commercial equipment lease holders, and general creditor representation in Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy proceedings.


Articles By This Author

Appellate Division Tells Landlords Comply or Die: Adverse Affect of Landlord's Failure to Strictly Adhere to Notice Requirements

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Whether you’re a real estate developer, owner and/or landlord of commercial, retail, industrial or residential property, you know compliance with state and municipal laws is key to operations. If you fail to comply with existing laws, you can suffer penalties, losses and setbacks. This maxim was recently illustrated for a landlord that had its eviction case die for failing to legally comply with New Jersey notice requirements to evict.

In the unpublished decision Cahn Estates v. Sanchez , 27-2-4190 (App. Div. 2014), a residential landlord had its judgment of possession reversed - effectively keeping a tenant that it evicted - because notice requirements were not strictly followed.

The case involved a 17-year tenant with a 20 pound, 10-year old dog that repeatedly used the hallway as its bathroom, barked at other tenants and lunged at a property manager. Although landlord served tenant a Notice to Terminate the tenancy after the tenant’s dog lunged at the landlord’s employee, landlord did not send a timely Notice to Cease, as required under the New Jersey Anti-Eviction Act (the “Act”), prior to sending the Notice to Terminate.

Landlord filed an eviction complaint, seeking judgment for possession as a result of threats against landlord representatives and a disorderly/destructive tenant. The trial judge found that the “threatening conduct” of tenant constituted both simple assault and terroristic threats. The Judge granted landlord a judgment for possession. Subsequently, landlord and tenant entered a consent order to allow tenant to stay until the end of the month, but presumably did not acknowledge the prior judgment of possession and/or waive any rights under the prior judgment. Once a warrant of removal was filed, tenant filed an Order to Show Cause to stay eviction.

Although the trial judge denied tenant’s Order to Show Cause, tenant appealed. Tenant claimed that under the Act, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to enter a judgment for possession because the landlord did not send a timely Notice to Cease, prior to the Notice to Terminate.

The Appellate Division agreed with the tenant, stayed eviction, reversed and vacated the judgment for possession. The Appellate Division held that the Act requires strict compliance, noting that the purpose of the Act was to protect tenants in the midst of a housing shortage and avoid hardship of rendering tenants homeless by a blameless eviction. Citing, Morristown Mem’l Hospital v Woken Mortg. & Realty Co., Inc., 192 N.J. 182 (App. Div. 1983).

The Appellate Division held the Act allows for a Notice to Terminate, without a Notice to Cease, if an offense includes “terroristic threats”. However, the Appellate Division held that the evidence did not support such a finding - basically, this little dog in no way could have “terrorized” anyone. Further, the Appellate Division held that the Notice to Terminate was not specific, since the Notice did not include the word “assault” as a ground for eviction. Thus, the landlord/tenant judge had no jurisdiction to even hear the eviction. In addition, the Appellate Division held that the subsequent consent order did not waive tenant’s right to contest the prior order and its validity.

In short, this decision illustrates not only the need to ensure compliance with New Jersey law when operating commercial, retail, industrial or residential property, but also the importance of trying to avoid issues, whether at the pre- or post-litigation stage.

Some interesting questions that you should ask your real estate counsel include:

  1. Prior to litigation, are your notices correct? For instance, if you are sending a Notice to Terminate, rather than a Notice to Cease first, do you have all appropriate language that addresses specific offense?
  2. Are there other alternatives that can be sought without cost to landlord? For instance, in this matter landlord may have been able to contact the police or animal control if it believed there were public safety issues.
  3. If you’re resolving an issue at or before trial, does your standard consent order contain a waiver of tenants’ rights to appeal?
  4. Does your consent order provide a warranties and representations clause that the tenant has read and understood the agreement?

Evaluating your legal issues and addressing them correctly, requires careful review on an individual basis. Further, it is vital to have counsel familiar with these issues for your commercial, retail, industrial and/or residential property needs.

New Residential Lease Language Required to Collect Attorneys' Fees

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On January 17, 2014, Gov. Christie signed into law Assembly Bill 3851, requiring landlords of residential property to include additional language in new residential leases after February 1, 2014. The new law recognizes an implied covenant of collection of attorneys’ fees and costs for a tenant, if the lease allows the same for the landlord.

If the landlord's lease provides that the residential landlord collect attorneys’ fees or expenses, then the lease shall also provide that the tenant be awarded attorneys fees and costs, if it successfully defends the action.  Specifically, the new law requires that all new residential leases, as of February 1, 2014 must contain the following capitalized bold typeface and a one point size larger than the rest of the lease (minimum 11 point font).

IF THE TENANT IS SUCCESSFUL IN ANY ACTION OR SUMMARY PROCEEDING ARISING OUT OF THIS LEASE, THE TENANT SHALL RECOVER ATTORNEY’S FEES OR EXPENSES, OR BOTH FROM THE LANDLORD TO THE SAME EXTENT THE LANDLORD IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER ATTORNEY’S FEES OR EXPENSES, OR BOTH AS PROVIDED IN THIS LEASE.

The law specifically prohibits collection of attorneys’ fees from a tenant who pays all rent due and owing prior to entry of final judgment, but that the court finds has presented no meritorious defense to the complaint other than payment. As such, a tenant must successfully defend the action to qualify for award of attorneys’ fees and costs. Additionally, the law provides that if an award is made in favor of the tenant, that award of attorneys’ fees and expenses is limited to actual expenses, such as court costs and expenses for witnesses. Excluded are personal expenses such as travel costs, missed work reimbursement and/or child care expenses.

If you are a residential landlord and have a lease that is coming up for renewal, this may be a good time to have your residential lease reviewed to ensure compliance.  Failure to ensure this provision is added to your lease could endanger your ability to collect your own attorneys’ fees on your next residential eviction action.  For reviewing your residential lease, feel free to contact Stark & Stark's Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Group.  

Protecting Landlord's Rights - Tenant's Exercise of Lease Options

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The economy is gaining ground, consumer confidence is up and market rents are increasing.  Now is an opportunity for landlords to market and obtain new tenants at higher rents for more profitable centers.  Some landlords may be hindered by tenant lease options, which may contain much lower market rents, lucrative expansion space, purchase rights and other goodies from negotiations at the inception of the lease that occurred during the Great Recession.

Common Questions:

  • What exactly are a landlord’s rights with a tenant’s option?
  • Is there any way to remove a tenant who may be paying a very low market rent, other than buying them out? 
  • If the option period is approaching, does the landlord have any obligation to alert the tenant? 
  • If the tenant hasn’t exercised their option on-time, what are the ramifications (i.e. will the Court let them exercise a late option)? 

The power of an option lies with the holder, meaning the tenant has the power to either exercise the option or not. However savvy landlord counsel, will review the lease to determine if adequate provisions limiting tenant option rights exist which will permit the landlord to void the option prior to its exercise. 

  • Can landlords void the option for a tenant’s failure to pay all rent when due or breach of a non-payment default? 
  • What if the default was cured?
  • In addition can landlords void the option based upon a change in the original deal, such as an assignment of the lease or reduction in net worth?   

If no adequate provisions to void the option are available, then the landlord and counsel should work to improve the language in any possible lease amendment, assignment and/or your future leases.

Generally courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York will not rewrite contracts to make better deals for parties, unless there is a showing of fraud or other equitable reasoning. However courts in those jurisdictions have permitted tenants to exercise options when the notice to the landlord was either: (1) early; or (2) slightly late and the failure to extend would bankrupt a small “mom and pop” tenant’s business. 

What Happens If The Option Is Exercised Late?

Often tenants that fail to exercise their option on-time will try and “muddy the water” by arguing that there would be no damage to the landlord in allowing a late option’s exercise.  For instance, a tenant grasping for straws may assert that landlord is already receiving market rent, contending that there are no damages. Or a tenant may assert that there was a calendaring mistake on their part.  These types of arguments can be countered by deft counsel that understands not only the case law in your particular jurisdiction, but also the commercial real estate industry and the value of your lease.

The legal maxim has long been recognized that equity aids the vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights. Strategizing with knowledgeable legal counsel on how to limit tenant’s option rights and enforce your rights as a commercial landlord when a tenant fails to exercise their option is vital to ensuring the best market rates and most profit for your real estate.  

Appellate Division Upholds Landlord's Piercing Tenant's Corporate Veil

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In a recent unpublished decision, 701 Penhorn Avenue Associates, Inc. v J. Fanok Services, Inc., BMF Air Freight aka Team Fanok and Jeffrey Fanok, App Div. Docket # A-2921-11T3, the Appellate Division upheld the trial court's judgment allowing Landlord to pierce the corporate veil of Tenant’s principal. It is an important decision for commercial landlords because it not only shows the factors required to pierce the corporate veil in New Jersey, but also the highlights due diligence needed before negotiating a lease.

In Penhorm, Landlord owned and leased a warehouse. Landlord had leased to a tenant, J. Fanok Services, Inc. (“Services”) since the 1960s. Services’ CEO was J. Fanok. In 2006, Fanok created J. Fanok Holdings, LLC (“Holdings”).  Due to the relationship with Services, Landlord and Holdings entered into a lease for four (4) units in the warehouse. Conveniently, all four (4) units were occupied by Services with subleases with Holdings.  Holdings had no employees, no inventory and no assets, other than the lease with Landlord.

In 2010, Holdings lost its biggest customer.  Subsequently, Holdings defaulted on all four (4) leases. Landlord filed a complaint, alleging among other things, veiling piercing and fraud.  Specifically, Landlord claimed Holdings was just a shell corporation and was entitled to pierce the corporate veil against the other defendants.

The court found that Fanok did not disclose to the Landlord that Holdings had no assets. Further, the court held that they abused corporate assets by setting up the shell corporation - Holdings.  Fanok and the entities appealed.

The Appellate Division upheld the trial court's judgment in-full . The Appellate Division held that Fanok did not dispute that he was the sole shareholder of Holdings. Further, Services paid all rent for Holdings. Finally, the company was completely undercapitalized and the lease was used to shield Services.  The Appellate Division held that based on Landlord’s showing of same owner, no employees, and undercapitalization, corporate veil piercing was shown.

This case is important because it emphasizes the importance of knowing who your tenant is, and what corporate form your tenant has structured for itself. When entering into a lease with the tenant, it is imperative for commercial landlords to conduct appropriate due diligence to find out the assets, ownership and form of the tenant. The landlord has the ability to find out this information before the lease is signed, rather than discovering after the fact that its tenant has no assets to pursue if they fail to pay.

For more discussion on your leasing issues, Stark & Stark’s Commercial Real Estate Group can help. 

Branch Brook Pools Makes a Splash with Chapter 11Bankruptcy Filing in Delaware - Landlord and Trade Creditors Protect Your Rights

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On Sunday, March 24, 2013, Namco, LLC dba Branch Brook filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection before the District of Delaware (docket # 13-10610).  The Manchester, Connecticut based retailer sells pools, pool accessories and other recreational equipment and operates 37 stores mostly in the Northeast.  Bankruptcy documents state Namco closed 21 stores since January 2012.

Whether you’re a landlord or a trade creditor, you should immediately contact counsel to protect your rights.  Following are three (3) simple, but important questions to ask: 

Landlords: (1) Is the Debtor assuming or rejecting the lease; (2) When and how will “stub” rent (the rent between the petition date and the next regular monthly payment) be paid?; and (3) What other damages are owed (both pre- and post-petition)?

Trade Creditors: (1) Do I have a reclamation claim and how do I assert the same (the right of a trade creditor to demand the return of unpaid goods); (2) Does the Debtor want to continue to do business; ad (3) What other monies are owed?

Both commercial Landlords and Trade Creditors should contact bankruptcy attorneys immediately.   Failure to address these issues in a timely manner can be detrimental to protecting your rights.  Sound legal counsel can obtain your objectives of getting paid in a quick and efficient manner.

Contact Stark & Stark’s Creditor’s Rights Group to assist you in this or other bankruptcy matters.  Our bankruptcy attorneys regularly represent landlords in the District of Delaware, as well as the District of New Jersey, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and Eastern District of Pennsylvania on a variety of issues.

For more information about the Namco, LLC bankruptcy filing and how Stark & Stark can assist you, please contact Thomas Onder, Shareholder at Stark & Stark (609) 219-7458 or tonder@Stark-Stark.com. Mr. Onder writes regularly on residential and commercial real estate issue and is a member of ICSC and its NextGeneration Committee.  

Big M Bankruptcy Filing - When Will Landlords Be Paid

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Big M, Inc. dba Annie Sez, Mandee Stores and Afaze, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of New Jersey on January 6, 2013, known as docket # 13-10233 (DHS).   The company operates 129 stores in eight (8) states.  One looming question for Landlords where the Debtor operates is when they will be paid? 
 
However, Landlords also need to ask other important questions like: (1) Is the Debtor remaining a tenant?; (2) When will “stub” rent (the rent between the petition date and the next regular monthly payment) be paid?; (3) Are there pre-petition claims that are owed?; (4) Is there debtor in default of pre-petition non-monetary obligations?; and (5) What other damages are owed (both pre- and post-petition?
 
It is imperative that commercial Landlords speak with sound bankruptcy counsel immediately to formulate and execute a plan that will obtain the Landlord’s objectives in a quick and efficient manner.
 
Stark & Stark’s Creditor’s Rights Group can help.  Our bankruptcy attorneys regularly represent landlords in the District of New Jersey, Southern District of New York, District of Delaware and Eastern District of Pennsylvanian on a variety of issues. For more information the Big M bankruptcy filing and Stark & Stark can assist you, please contact Thomas Onder, Shareholder at Stark & Stark (609) 219-7458 or tonder@Stark-Stark.com. Mr. Onder writes regularly on residential and commercial real estate issue and is a member of ICSC and its NextGeneration Committee.
 
Thomas Onder is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark's Bankruptcy & Creditor's Rights Group. For questions, or additional information, please contact Mr. Onder.

Landlord's Eviction Complaint Dismissed Due to "Potentially Misleading" Letter

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In Cisero v Rosen, ESX-LT 27084-12, Essex County Court Judge Mahlon Fast (also the author of the New Jersey “Guide to Landlord Tenant Actions in Special Civil Part”) held that a residential landlord’s sending a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) notice letter, and then, filing of an eviction complaint to be heard before the 30-day expiration of the FDCPA notice was grounds to dismiss the eviction action without prejudice.  This case is important for residential landlords because it shows the pitfalls of filing eviction actions without consulting counsel.  

In Cisero, the landlord sent out a FDCPA notice on August 9, 2012.  Landlord then filed an eviction action on August 29 - only 20 days after sending a letter.  The Eviction hearing was scheduled for October 3.  Under the FDCPA, a debtor has 30 days to dispute the alleged debt if a FDCPA letter is sent by a “debt collector”.  The creditor that has five (5) days from their request to provide a response with proof of the same.  Once that response is provided, or, the 30 days elapses without a dispute, the creditor is permitted to file a collection action.  Interestingly, the FDCPA specifically provides that the filing and service of an eviction complaint does not constitute an initial communication that would trigger the five-day response from the creditor.  
 
Judge Fast’s ruling held that the 30-day notice, the filing of the eviction action prior to the expiration of the 30 day notice, and the debtor’s explicit dispute of the debt which would require a response within five (5) days, was “potentially misleading” to unrepresented tenants.  Judge fast held that the eviction complaint specifically tells tenants that they can show up in court to fight the action, while the FDCPA  letter tells them that they have 30 days to dispute the debt – potentially disparate communications.  Judge Fast then dismiss the action without prejudice.
 
Interestingly, there was no indication that the landlord was a “debt collector” as defined under the FDCPA.  A creditor that is not defined as a “debt collector”, normally does not a need to comply with the 30 day FDCPA requirement. As such, if Cicero was not an attorney and not a debt collector, then Cicero may not have needed to even send out the 30-day FDCPA notice.  Further of interest is the fact that the tenant in this case was a lawyer who was the formal chair of the state Bar Association's Real Property, Probate and Trust Law section -  hardly a layman which the FDCPA was designed to protect.
 
This case highlights the fact that the filing of a residential eviction action has many pitfalls and issues that should be discussed with counsel prior to filing.  Further, with more and more commercial landlords developing mixed-use commercial/residential developments,  this case spotlights the differences in approaching a residential eviction, as opposed to a commercial eviction for non-payment. 
 
No matter what the basis for filing an eviction action, Stark & Stark’s Commercial Real Estate Group can help.  For more information on issues to address prior to filing an eviction action, please contact Thomas Onder, Shareholder at Stark & Stark (609) 219-7458 or tsonder@Stark-Stark.com. Mr. Onder writes regularly on residential and commercial real estate issue and is a member of ICSC. 
 

IDT Gets Served Eviction Complaint - More Commercial Landlords Flex Litigation Muscles in Strengthening Economy

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More and more commercial landlords in New Jersey are proceeding with eviction actions for unpaid rents with larger tenants. Case in point was the recent article in The Star-Ledger on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 entitled, IDT Landlord Threatens Eviction Over Unpaid Rent.  The article noted that IDT, one of Newark’s larger employers was recently served with an eviction action for more than $470,000 in rental arrears.

 

Counsel for the landlord was quoted as saying his client “...told me to throw the bums out.”  Additionally, even if IDT becomes current, the landlord wants IDT out of the building as they have already leased to a new tenant two of the floors currently occupied by IDT.

 

The eviction shows the recent strengthening of commercial landlord positions in the slow, yet improving economy.  Over the last four year, many commercial landlords have faced one of the worst economies since the great Depression, leading a number of landlords to hold off from filing eviction complaints.  However, the slow, but ever increasing improvements in the economy are giving commercial landlords more opportunities to exercise their legal rights to get delinquent tenants back on track or evicted from the space.

 

In New Jersey, the county Landlord Tenant Court holds limited jurisdiction to evict a tenant for monetary defaults via a summary dispossession action.  To obtain an order for possession and allow a warrant for removal to be issued, the landlord must prove that rent is: 1) due; 2) unpaid; and 3) owing.  See, Levine v. Seidel, 128 N.J. Super 225, 229 (App. Div. 1974).

 

Interestingly, although the Tenant Anti-Eviction Act forbids landlords from evicting residential tenants who bring a landlord current the day of the actual hearing, there is no application of the Act to commercial landlords. Yet, various New Jersey Court cases discuss commercial landlord rights to evict a commercial tenant for:

  1. habitual late payment
  2. if the lease provides a contract right for the same
  3. where other defaults are at issue


Whether IDT stays or is evicted is yet to be seen.  But what is known is that more and more commercial landlords are flexing their litigation muscles and enforcing their rights to payment through the landlord tenant courts. 

 

If you are a commercial landlord, now may be the time to start flexing your litigation muscles on delinquent tenants.  However, before you do, a review of all issues is critical to ensure that you are proceeding with the most efficient and effective efforts.

Thomas Onder is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark's Bankruptcy & Creditor's Rights Group. For questions, or additional information, please contact Mr. Onder.

Commercial Landlords and Frivolous Lawsuits: Not every suit is a "Federal Case"

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The Third Circuit recently affirmed the dismissal of a RICO suit brought by a disgruntled residential tenant against a residential landlord.  See, Bolmer v. Connolly Properties, Inc., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 3698.  The Court held that this suit was an “everyday landlord-tenant dispute adorned as a racketeering claim complete with the obligatory treble damage request that is both the sine qua non and irresistible impulse of so many civil actions under RICO.” See, Bolmer at 31. This federal case is an example of the frivolous lawsuits commercial and residential landlords face when tenants find “creative ways” to hinder landlords by making a “federal case” of state court landlord/tenant disputes, when no true federal action exists.
 

In Bolmer, the tenant alleged that the landlord conspired to harbor illegal aliens and induce illegal aliens to reside in the United States as part of a conspiracy to deny Bolmer and other tenants the full value of their leasehold. Bolmer claimed that as a result of these actions, the apartment complex fell into “slum-like conditions” with unclean commons areas, infestation of bugs and rodents, mold and criminal activities.
 

In support of his position, Bolmer cited a number of other RICO cases where courts have granted such claims. However, the Third Circuit distinguished these other cases by illustrating that the defendants in cases cited by Bolmer were involved in employment-related disputes or smuggling undocumented individuals. The Third Circuit held that in the matter before the court, the landlord merely rented apartments and was not required to conduct background checks, disclose identities or follow-up on immigration status. Further, the landlord did not bring the tenants into the country or serve as a catalyst for aliens to reside in the U.S. 
 

In Bolmber, the court stated:

"We cannot imagine that Congress contemplated that our nation’s landlords (not to mention our hotel and motel operators, innkeepers, and others who are in the business of providing accommodations) would be tasked with making complex legal determinations about who is permitted to live in this country, much less that they would be criminalized for an error in so doing."
   

Other landlord/tenant cases also deal with issues whereby a disgruntled tenant attempts to bring a state landlord/tenant dispute before the federal courts. Often, this tactic is used in removal actions.  See 2009 U.S. Dist Lexis 62655 Millville Housing Authority v. Mary Thomas. In Millville, an angry tenant sought for removal to federal court her state court landlord-tenant dispute. The court held that a landlord-tenant dispute is a state law issue that does not concern substantial federal interest. Further, the District Court, citing the Supreme Court, emphasized that a “case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal defense is the only question truly at issue”.  See Id. (citing, Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393, 107 S. Ct. 2425, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318 [1987]).
   

Whether you are a commercial or residential landlord, it is important to address frivolous lawsuits - especially where a tenant tries to make their matter a “federal case”.  If not dealt with properly and immediately, such tactics can cause unnecessary delay and drive up expenses. If presented with such a complaint, it is imperative for a landlord to address the matter “head-on” and attempt to have the case dismissed or, in the removal context, remanded back to state court as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Having counsel that knows how to handle such issues is crucial for any residential or commercial landlord.
 

For my information on commercial/residential landlord’s rights and how to address disgruntled tenant disputes like this or other issues, please contact Thomas Onder at Stark & Stark in the Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights Group at (609) 219-7458 or tonder@stark-stark.com.

Landlord and Tenant Insurance Coverage After Hurricane Irene

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If you are like most people in the Northeast, you experienced wind, rain and flooding right out of a disaster movie. Now that the storm has passed, it’s time to begin to look at the next stage of recovery and the most important document you should be reviewing is your insurance policy. Commercial landlords and tenants spend a great deal of time and money obtaining property insurance coverage for their businesses. However, not everyone knows the intricacies of insurance coverage following a natural disaster, nor do they have a full understanding of their rights to recover their losses.  

 

Following are some quick tips for dealing with insurance issues:

  • Review Your Policy. Before you do anything else, make sure you have a complete, current copy of your policy(s) and review them to get an understanding of what insurance coverage you have. For example, what are the policy limits? Are their endorsements pertaining to a “hurricane” loss? What are your deductible limits?
  • Review and Categorize Your Loss. The differences in loss and coverage for commercial landlords and tenants can vary greatly. For instance, you may not have suffered any flooding or damages due to the wind and rain, yet you may have had a shutdown in your business due to protracted power outages. It is important to review your policy and characterize your total loss. A restaurant’s loss could include spoiled food or perishable inventory, for example. A clothing retailer’s loss may be the number of days the store remained closed due to power loss or other localized damage.
  • How Does Your Insurance Policy Characterize the Loss? The precise language of your policy will determine whether you can recover for your losses, and in what amount. In a very recent development following the hurricane, the New Jersey Commissioner of Banking and Insurance has ruled that hurricane Irene did not generate sustained hurricane – force winds of above 74 mph as it hit New Jersey, (apparently the wind was measured at a peak velocity of 71 mph) and, accordingly, losses should not be characterized by insurance adjusters as having been caused by a “hurricane.” This has tremendous significance in connection with how losses are adjusted in New Jersey since many policies have very high deductibles for losses caused by wind and other damage associated with a hurricane.


This is good news for policyholders and should result in many more claims falling within coverage, within otherwise applicable policies. You should be aware, however, that many policies may not cover losses attributable to “flood” or related water damage driven claims. 

 

This is all the more reason you need to examine your policy carefully, in consultation with your insurance agent or broker, and to seek legal assistance if the insurance carrier is not recognizing your claim in full, or is citing exclusions or other policy language inconsistent with your good-faith reading of the policy. These issues can be tricky, especially for most people who are unfamiliar with the nuances of insurance coverage, and examine their policies carefully only after a significant loss. 

 

These are just a few of the issues commercial landlords and tenants will be dealing with over the next few months due to Hurricane Irene. Regardless of what insurance or other legal issues you face, Stark & Stark’s Commercial Landlord & Tenant, and Insurance Coverage Groups are available to assist you. Feel free to contact Tom Onder, Tom Pryor or Tara Speer in our Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, regarding these issues. 

Older Entries

May 20, 2011 — Commercial Landowners Impetus to "Go Green"

April 20, 2011 — Bankruptcy Court Rules that "Absent" Owner in Chapter 7 Must Pay, So Long as They Remain Owner

July 30, 2009 — Bankruptcy Basics for Boards: Don't Leave Money on the Table

May 5, 2009 — Commercial Landlords Beware: Questions To Ask Before Removing, Disposing or Returning Property Left By Tenants

February 2, 2009 — Bankruptcy Basics for Boards - Chapter 7 Debtors' Liability for Post-Petition Assessments

October 15, 2008 — Protecting Commercial Landlord's Rights - Eviction, Collection and Beyond

August 4, 2008 — Boscov's Bankruptcy And What Their Suppliers Should Understand

May 5, 2008 — Linens-N-Things Bankruptcy

April 11, 2008 — Landlord's Beware: Options to Purchase Commercial Property Strictly Adhered

April 8, 2008 — Landlord's Beware: Court Awarded Tenant Attorneys Fees and Double Security Deposit for Failure to Return to Tenant

January 3, 2008 — Landlord's Beware: Commercial Tenant Failure to Obtain Municipal Permits Not Grounds For Eviction

December 14, 2007 — What to Do When You Receive A Bankruptcy Preference Demand Letter

September 7, 2007 — Tenants Allowed to Maintain Almost "No Deductible" For Commercial Insurance Coverage

April 30, 2007 — Landlord's Beware: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Applies to Eviction Actions

October 20, 2006 — New Jersey Legal Update - Podcast # 49

July 28, 2006 — New Jersey Legal Update - Podcast # 40

June 26, 2006 — Legal Tips for Livestock and Exotic Animal Breeders

November 11, 2005 — New Jersey Legal Update - Podcast # 17

September 23, 2005 — New Jersey Legal Update - Podcast #12

July 29, 2005 — Channeling Injunction of Bankruptcy Code 524(g)

July 22, 2005 — New Jersey Legal Update - Podcast #4

June 3, 2005 — A New Defense to Preference Litigation

April 25, 2005 — Livestock and Breeding Animal Warranties

October 27, 2004 — Bankruptcy of a Commercial Tenant