Monday, January 6, 2014

Marini v. Ireland case brief

Marini v. Ireland case brief summary
265 A.2d 526 (1970)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant tenant sought review of a decision by the Camden County District Court (New Jersey), which erroneously held that plaintiff landlord did not have a duty to make repairs on defendant's apartment.

CASE FACTS
Defendant tenant offset the cost of repair of a toilet in the payment of her rent. Plaintiff landlord challenged the offset, demanding the rent which was outstanding. When his demands were refused, the plaintiff instituted a summary dispossess action for nonpayment of rent in the county district court pursuant to New Jersey Statute Ann. §2A:18-53(b).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The trial judge found that plaintiff did not have a duty to make repairs and rendered a judgment for possession. (reversed)

DISCUSSION
  • The court reversed and remanded. 
  • The court found that there was an implied covenant to make repairs
  • If a landlord failed to make repairs and replacements of vital facilities that are necessary to maintain the premises in a livable condition for a period of time adequate to accomplish such repair and replacements, the tenant can cause the same to be done and deduct the cost from future rents. 
  • The tenant's recourse to such self-help had to be preceded by timely and adequate notice to the landlord of the faulty condition in order to accord him the opportunity to make necessary replacement or repair. 
  • If the tenant was unable to give notice after a reasonable attempt, he could proceed to repair or replace.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment of the county district court, which held that plaintiff landlord did not have a duty to make repairs on defendant tenant's apartment. The court found that there was an implied covenant to make repairs and the court held that a tenant could deduct the cost of repairs from rent.

See also: Marini v. Ireland full case on Google Scholar

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