Business Law

In September 2019, Samantha Jones and Heather Smith both decided to voluntarily move out of their respective parents’ homes and to rent a townhouse together in order to be closer to their jobs.  Jones and Smith were hired on the same day by Verizon and quickly became friends.  Neither graduated from High School and both young ladies had worked full-time at Verizon for about a year when they verbally agreed to a two-year lease with Fantasy Townhomes of Hoboken, a New Jersey Partnership.  Samantha Jones, the older of the two ladies, turned 17 the week after they entered into this verbal lease agreement and both continued to be employed by Verizon at all times referred to herein.  Fred Johnson negotiated the oral lease as a Principal of the Partnership after having had a three-martini lunch with an old college buddy.  Fred was unable to find his standard written lease after Samantha and Heather agreed to a monthly rental of $1,600 for a two-year term and, thus, concluded their deal with a smile and a handshake.

Jones and Smith took possession of the two-bedroom townhouse and paid the full monthly rent for the next six months.  When Heather ran into credit card challenges, she became unable to pay her full share of the monthly rent.  Heather attempted to speak with Fred in an effort to negotiate a new arrangement but learned that Fred died of a heart attack two months after they took possession of the townhouse.  Samantha and Heather failed to meet their monthly obligation for the 7th and 8th months of the Agreement and received a letter from Fantasy Townhomes of Hoboken Partnership declaring them in default, requesting them to vacate the premises within three days and holding them accountable for the balance of rent due under their two-year Agreement.  Shortly thereafter, the Partnership sued Miss Jones and Miss Smith in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey for the remaining balance of $27,200 that it contends is due under the lease agreement.

1.  Review the above Scenario and explain whether “a meeting of the minds” occurred.  (5 points)

2.  Review the above Scenario and the case of Young v. Weaver, 883 So.2d 234 (Ala. 2003).  Assuming that New Jersey Law is similar to the law of Alabama in the relevant particulars, explain whether Jones and Smith would likely be held liable to the Partnership for the outstanding rent requested on the basis that the townhouse rental was a necessary lodging expense that minors could not avoid by virtue of their status as minors.  (15 points)

3.  Identify three additional, legal arguments that Jones and Smith might successfully use in Court in order to avoid any liability to the Partnership for the outstanding rent alleged in the Partnership’s lawsuit.  (30 points)

(Optional Extra Credit – 10 points)  Assume in the above Scenario that Smith and Jones attained the age of majority and signed a written Lease Agreement for a two-year term with the same monthly rental with the Partnership.  Would the written Agreement be a legally-enforceable contract if it contained a cancellation clause that permitted the Partnership to terminate the Lease “immediately upon non-payment of rent due or a material breach by the tenants, or upon thirty days notice to the Tenant in the event that the Landlord Partnership receives a written offer to  rent the same leased premises to a third party at a higher rental” amount?  Explain why/why not.

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