Hello, We have rented the first-floor apartment/part of a house last July, in New Jersey. We have a one-year lease. The ground-floor part of the

Asked by Lmflorescu, Englewood Cliffs, NJ Thu Apr 14, 2011

house (basically, a studio apartment) was occupied (or rented, we are not sure) by someone else. This situation is mentioned in the lease only when describing the rules for backyard use and utility payment-- in the lease we are called "first-floor tenants". Now the ground-floor occupant moves out and the landlord offers us a renewal of the lease ( for when the current lease expires) with the condition that we rent the whole house.

Is this legal? We understand that the new lease can include rent increase, but can we be forced to rent the whole house at a sensibly higher rent (50% more), or leave?

The current lease says "The tenant must be offer a renewal of this lease unless the landlord has good cause not to do so under applicable law. Reasonable changes may be included in the renewal lease"

Is what the LL asks a reasonable change ?
We think not. Is our interpretation correct ?

Thank you very much for any answer/advice.

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Adrienne Pet…, Agent, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Sun Jan 22, 2012
Dear Lmflorescu,
Because the rental laws vary from town to town, I would recommend that you contact someone in the Englewood Cliffs Municipal building to get the specifics of what the rules are in your town. It does not seem reasonable that you would need to accept the whole house rental or be vacated from the house unless the LL wants to live there himself.
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