Legal Fee bill S-2018 Passes Senate -- on the Governor's Desk

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The legal fee equality bill, Bill S-2018, would give tenants who win in court the right to collect attorney's fees, if the landlord has the same right in the lease (almost always the case).  It won approval in the Assembly 12/19/13, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 71 to 9, and the Senate approved it yesterday by a strong vote of 27 to 11!

 Because of our activism, the bill has passed both houses.  It's now up to the Governor.  If he does nothing, the bill will "die" on Jan. 21 at 12 noon.  That's because we are at the end of a legislative session, and a new legislature (elected last November) will be taking over.  This do-nothing veto is called a "pocket veto."

 Anyone who is paying attention knows that Governor Christie has a lot on his plate right now.  It is up to each and every one of us to make sure he doesn't forget the Tenant Legal Fee Equality bill.  

        Please call the Governor at 609-292-6000 and ask him to sign S-2018.



The message is the same -- S-2018 is just about fairness.  If landlords can charge tenants for their legal fees, tenants should have the same right when they win in court.  Since landlords write the leases, they only give the landlords that right.  So we need this law to give the tenants the same exact right -- no more, no less.  

(Please note that we have reached an agreement with the landlords to stop their opposition, in exchange for an amendment that is fair, giving judges the same discretion over the amount of awarded tenant legal fees that they currently have over landlord legal fees – no more, no less.  So you might want to mention that there is no statewide group that opposes this bill -- not even the landlords.)

Finally, please let ALL the other tenants in your building/complex/town know about this and ask them to help.  If you have their phone numbers, call them and tell them how important this is.  Or make up a flyer (could just be this email) and pass it out.

If we don't go all out, we will lose the opportunity for the biggest advance in the rights of tenants in many, many years!

 Please make the calls every week day from now until Jan. 21 (unless he signs it before then).

 If we all do this, we can make it happen.

  Matt Shapiro
  New Jersey Tenants Organization

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