27 June 2008

Gripe: Abusive rental agreements

Daya and I have recently been considering buying a house. Our logic has been that flipping a house in five years is favorable to renting. In actuality, the equity built over five years in this market is quite small, and (at least for us) renting would save us money. Oh well, I'm disappointed, but I'll get over it.

Having decided not to buy, we instead signed a lease. The last clause of this lease includes this very questionable clause (the bracketed words are my addition, for suspense):

17. The relationship of the [tenant] and the [landlord] shall be that of a guest and an innkeeper, respectively, and nothing herein shall be construed to give the [tenant] any additional rights including, but not limited to, those of a tenant under a residential lease. These parties specifically agree that this agreement does not establish a landlord/tenant relationship and is not governed by NJSA 2A18-61.1 [sic] or NJSA 2A:18-53, commonly known as the New Jersey eviction statute.

So who would write such a dastardly, evil clause into their leases? Princeton University. In the original, "[tenant]" was written as "student", and "[landlord]" was written as "university."

Despite this, the rental market in Princeton, NJ still somehow made this lease favorable; the graduate housing that Princeton will provide is at perhaps half the market rate. We signed. So what did we give up?

NJSA 2A:18-61.1 and NJSA 2A:18-53 limit the circumstances under which a tenant may be legally evicted. The limits laid out in law are mostly reasonable: one can be evicted if they fail to pay rent, if they are a terrorist (I'm not joking), etc. It also allows for the eviction of tenants convicted of drug crimes (questionable...), or if you refuse to pay an increased rent (very questionable...). Because my relationship to Princeton will be that of a guest and their inn, they can evict me not just for being a terrorist, but for whatever reason they wish at any time.

I understand that Princeton basically wants the right to evict me if I drop out of grad school, but still, this is wrong. I am so sick of being shat on by landlords.

1 comment:

Ice Dragon said...
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