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Litigious Landlord's new Lease binds tenant to pay all legal bills?! Extension, Renewal

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Guest, Nov 9, 2013.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Law Topic Starter Guest

    Thank you in advance...
    I am a NJ tenant having resided in my unit for 5 years with no written lease in place.
    Landlord has raised rent and is asking me to sign a lease which contains the following clause...

    Attorney's Fees... In connection with all the Tenants defaults and all litigation involving either of the parties and this lease, tenant shall pay to landlord all reasonable fees, costs and other expenses which may become payable as a result thereof or in connection therewith including reasonable attorneys fees and expenses. Tenant will also pay landlords attorneys fees and expenses even if the tenant initiates the litigation or in connection with the defense of any and all counterclaims or cross claims by tenant. in connection with disputes arising from the negotiation of a new lease or lease extensions and/or for any and all appeals. Any provision in this lease affording landlord attorneys fees shall be considered as additional rent."

    landlord is too litigious for me to want this in there... he will not willingly omit it. is this a situation where i can either sign or be evicted.. do i have a defense? I cant find any case law with regards to this..
    thank you again.
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    If you don't have a written lease then you have a month to month tenancy. You don't really have much choice as to your options.

    Regarding the attorney's fees, it is not uncommon to have a clause that the losing party will pay attorney's fees of the prevailing (winning) party -- and in this instance, the evicted party (which would be the losing party.) I think that this is a poorly written clause since it would seem to imply (second sentence) that the tenant must pay the landlord's attorney's fees even if the tenant sues the landlord and wins. You might want to point this out and have the clause modified.

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