In an important decision the New Jersey Court of Appeals held that landlords and their attorneys violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) by demanding in eviction pleadings more rent than allowed under both state and federal law.
The lease in question defined late fees and other charges as additional rent. The court held both the landlord and its attorney violated both state and federal law by demanding an amount that included the additional amounts as rent.
The case is important because it has implication for landlords in every American jurisdiction, not just New Jersey. Several courts have held that attorneys who regularly perform evictions for landlords are debt collectors for the purposes of the FDCPA. And although evictions are brought through state law processes, the Section 8 program is governed by federal law. Continue reading