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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 116704
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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I Owned & operated a bld. as a/body & paint shop w/

Customer Question

I Owned & operated a bld. as a/body & paint shop w/ auto dealers lic.for 25 Yrs-then rented it out as a/Body paint shop 20 yrs but always keeping the Used Car my name-.Appox 1 yr ago the tenant puts in a new paint booth in what was the "paint room"
for 49 Yrs.Next all hell breaks loose-numerous t-meetings & thousand of $$$ later & many town officials riding by parking & who tenant says are spying on him, tenant has enough and leaves.1st day I go to shop (appox 10-11-15) w/ 2gal. paint,w/in 5 minutes(
not exaggerating )a guy from the town startles me from behind says I heard your doing construction-NOPE I'm painting interior of shop-next day sunday wife out doors at shop picking up debris w/ a retriever and I'm replacing windows. Within 20 minutes cop pulls
up says I had a report your working on sun.No just replacing broken windows. I ask who called you he says I'd rather not say. My old tenant also said couple days before he left a guy from the St. .MV shows up inquiring about my Used Car Lic,said the mayor
called the St. I want to know if because of all this harassment can I ask for a change of venue & have a judge from another town hear my complaints,or take any of their (sure to come) complaints to the County or a NJ agency ? PS this is the oldest body shop
& oldest used car Lic. in the town.Also after my having a State of NJ Used Car Dealers Lic for 55 Yrs."The Township" just this Yr. passed a law that includes many new restrictions before you can get to their "NEW Town license".I don't think I can afford what
it will take to comply.How do I stand under Prior Pre-Existing ,Non Conforming Use ,and would a Certificate of Non Conforming Use apply here ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
First you are going to need an attorney here to represent you against the violations. Second, you are going to have to find out who is the party reporting you. Unless you can prove it is the mayor or government official who is out to get you the court will not grant you a change in venue I am sorry to say. So you are going to have to fight them based on the fact you were not committing the violations that they are harassing you over. Also, as far as your property, you are grandfathered in under the old laws as long as you do not sell or do not make major renovations, which would then bring you under the new laws.
You need get yourself a local attorney though to represent you here and take them on because they should not be harassing you over these small violations you are describing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
To be honest I didn't find the answer very helpful w/ the emphasis on "getting a lawyer".but that was my fault,the whole reason for using Just Answer was to find out what actions I myself could do,even filing any necessary paper work on my own,and w/o hiring a lawyer,and take my chances. Sorry I should have made that clear in my question.My tenant went the lawyer route, thousands of $$$ and months later w/ no success on the horizon he thru in the towel & moved out.I'd perfere to start the ques.over again w/ the proviso to the expert being if you must include the GET A LAWYER advice ( don't mean to be distressful) don't take the ques. I don't even want start that lawyer thing again. Thank's Joe
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Legally, the state laws say we cannot represent you, so we MUST by law inform you that you need to get a local attorney to represent you. Please do not hold the experts here at fault for following what state laws tell us we must do. So I HAD NO CHOICE but to inform you of that.
Now, you say you owned the business, was it a LLC or a Corporation or is all of this against you personally? I am asking because if you owned this as an LLC or corporation, then by state law you cannot represent the business at all and a lawyer is mandated by law whether you want to hear it or not, as it would be considered unauthorized practice of law for you to represent the business. Also, just because your tenant had a lawyer who did no good does not mean all lawyers are like that.
If you are being pursued as an individual and not as owner of the business, you can choose to represent yourself.
If you choose to represent yourself, then you need to get your evidence together showing how the conduct you are being cited for does not violate the laws. If your property has been grandfathered in, then you need to get your proof of ownership prior to the new laws being enacted and you are going to need to present the evidence to the court that you owned the property and these changes in the law are retroactive and as such prohibited as an ex post facto change. The Constitution disfavor's ex post facto laws, but you have to prove that the property has not been changed since the law was enacted to avail yourself of that defense in court.

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