Morris County Court Rules in Favor of Tenants' Privacy

August 6, 2007

NEWARK, N.J. -- The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey today praised a decision issued Friday by Morris County Superior Court Judge B. Theodore Bozenelis that protects the privacy rights of tenants.

In the case, captioned Powder Mill Heights, et al., v. Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, Judge Bozenelis struck down a Parsippany-Troy Hills ordinance that required landlords to turn over the names, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, places of employment and phone numbers of all tenants.

"The right to privacy in your home and control over your personal information are core principles enshrined in our federal and state constitutions," said Grayson Barber, a Princeton attorney who submitted the legal brief on behalf of the ACLU-NJ. "This is an especially important principle given significant concerns in recent years over identity theft."

Judge Bozenelis ruled that the ordinance violated tenants' privacy and due process rights and that, if the town was concerned about overcrowding, all that was necessary for town officials to obtain was the number of residents in each unit. This was the position advocated by the ACLU-NJ in a "friend-of-the-court" brief submitted in June 2007.

In its brief, the ACLU-NJ cited to a prior Appellate Division decision that struck down a similar measure in Belmar, N.J. In that decision, the court held that the town "does not need to know the names of tenants or their addresses or other personal information to enforce an occupancy limit."

Category: Privacy

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