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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Quote:

newtoHP wrote:

i have also contacted an attorney regarding the same.
I'm curious as to what that attorney says about that lease form.

And about the larger issue of how the court sees an individual condo owner.

Which law applies?

That for multi-unit with all the ant-eviction protections for the tenant.

Or are you seen as an owner with the right to evict on 30days notice of intent to occupy?

Posted on: 2008/1/30 3:31
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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injcsince81 wrote:

If renting a dwelling is a fair business transaction, then a non-paying tenant (provided the product, ie. an apartment, is not defective) should be forced to pay the late rent with interest.

No BS partial payments just to catch up with rent - the landlord delivered the product (apartment) which has not been paid for.
Landlord / Tenant Court will not allow interest on late overdue payments but there is no need tor a landlord to suffer financial loss.

The court allows recovery of filing fees, attorney's fees and last payment fees as long as they are properly written into the lease. Even if the tenant shows up with the nominal overdue amount, the court usually will require those other items be paid as well, that very same day, to avoid eviction.

Further, if your lease includes a properly required security deposit, (usually 1 and 1/2 of a month's rent), and you must evict, you usually will be allowed to keep it as liquidated damages under most conditions. The most common legal justification is that eviction leaves the landlord with empty, non-performing premises - and the courts usually allow the landlord to keep the security as compensation.

If late payment is chronic (defined at the judges discretion) that alone is statutory grounds for eviction.

Posted on: 2008/1/30 3:25
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Quote:

billtimslee wrote:
Quote:
justjoe


this guy sounds like a nightmare for a landlord.....
I finally returned to reading this thread. You are right.

If you are a landlord who allows conditions that result in your tenants being terrorized by criminal intruders, I'm your nightmare.

If you are a landlord who tries to interfere with residents' constitutionally protected right to peacefully assemble, I'm your nightmare.

If you are a landlord who thinks that landlord still means Lord over the Land in ways that ended with the Magna Carta, I'm your nightmare.

If you are a landlord who threatens all the residents of a 59 unit building with punishment because someone overloaded a washing machine, I'm your nightmare.

Sweet dreams to you . . .

Posted on: 2008/1/30 3:04
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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thanks for all your help and advice.

in case you are interested in how this has ended (for now...)

- i sent a certified mail for the months outstanding clearly outlining what was outstanding and when. and followed up with emails in a week
- i also left some voicemails detailing the outcomes/next steps if the situation at hand was not remedied (e.g. pursuing legal action, etc)

i finally got a call last week and the entire outstanding balance was paid off last week - including late fees, etc.

i am waiting for a call from the tenant to discuss future payments and lease

so, so far so good - lets see if this happens again next month....

thanks again for your inputs

Posted on: 2008/1/29 12:30
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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thanks for all your advice/inputs.

i did get another message from him on monday saying that the balance would be paid by tue - guess what...it is sat and i still dont see any deposits from him.

my prev communication to him were by phone, email, txt some of which are not tangible/provable in court (if it ever gets to it) - so taking your advice, i have sent the tenant a certified mail notifying him of his non-payment of the rent, additional rent, etc.

i have also contacted an attorney regarding the same.

for the last poster - am not a condo flipper. i bought the place 4 yrs ago, stayed there for 2.5 yrs and then as family grew had to move on. hope to keep it and pass onto the kids.

hope you have a great weekend!

Posted on: 2008/1/12 10:41
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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justjoe - your posts are informed and knowledgeable.

But I would not characterize the NJ Housing law as equitable - it seems to be pretty heavily skewed towards the tenant's rights.

If renting a dwelling is a fair business transaction, then a non-paying tenant (provided the product, ie. an apartment, is not defective) should be forced to pay the late rent with interest.

No BS partial payments just to catch up with rent - the landlord delivered the product (apartment) which has not been paid for.

Eviction is not enough, imo - the late payment must be made, with interest, up to and inclusive of garnishment of the wages of the deadbeat tenant in the future.

I was a landlord once, and even though all my tenants were pretty good, I got out of that business - the nJ law scared me.

I have slept much better ever since.

PS - If the original poster is a condo flipper who bought the condo hoping to flip it and is now stuck with a deadbeat tenant - I am not one bit sorry for him.

Posted on: 2008/1/9 9:57
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Obligatory "The Landlord" video, Will Ferrell meets his landlord.

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Posted on: 2008/1/9 9:21
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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ianmac47 wrote:if you start eviction proceedings, it will still be several months before the tenant is forced to vacate. You'll have spent money on legal fees, and only have removed the tenant a few months before the lease naturally terminates anyway.
Eviction does not take months and a landlord does not have to be represented by a lawyer unless he is incorporated.

The court date is within weeks after the filing. Continuances (rescheduling) are unusual and require serious reasons. In virtually all cases, the suit for eviction will be heard and disposed of at the first scheduled hearing.

Take a morning one day and go sit in as a spectator. It's quite an education in how law serves both sides. I've always been impressed.

While I have characterized NJ law as fair to tenants, I have also said it is equitable. A landlord has rights too, the most obvious the right to be paid on time.

The court, faced with a non-paying tenant - and after the tenant has had a final opportunity to pay up - will not hesitate to evict. I've seen a court grant a mother with an infant a few weeks to get her affairs in order, such as arrange for shelter, but the judge was strict that eviction would follow.

Eviction usually is effected with 10 days or so after the court order. If the tenant doesn't get out voluntarily before the day of reckoning, the sheriff will do it.

That is not to say that the court is cruel. NJ has a functioning Homeless Prevention system. Virtually any renter not already on public assistance can get a voucher that a landlord can cash for the funds to pay two or three months overdue rent to avoid a renter being made homeless simply by asking for it at the State Office at Sip and Summit.

It's a one-time thing. No repeat rescues. After that, it's off to a shelter or relatives or whatever - but it does give people time to arrange for welfare or an alternative.

Bottom line, know your rights as a landlord and be businesslike. Your mortgage company doesn't care if your non-paying tenant - or you - is a nice guy or not.

Posted on: 2008/1/9 8:24
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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this american life had a recent episode sort of dealing with this....
thisamericanlife.org

the episode is called The Super. the first story is amazing, but the last one is about non-paying renters....

enjoy

Posted on: 2008/1/8 20:34
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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justjoe


this guy sounds like a nightmare for a landlord.....

Posted on: 2008/1/8 12:09
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I think the course of action that is in your best interest is to start charging late fees as per the lease. I think one of two things will happen. Those fees add up quickly and if the tenant can afford to pay and simply is avoiding paying you, a month of late fees will probably be enough to get you the rent on time for the remainder of the lease. Or if the tenant is having some financial troubles obut is generally an honest person, he'll probably quickly realize he no longer is able to afford the apartment and try moving out on his own.

On the other hand, if you start eviction proceedings, it will still be several months before the tenant is forced to vacate. You'll have spent money on legal fees, and only have removed the tenant a few months before the lease naturally terminates anyway. Further, if the tenant isn't paying you because he simply doesn't have any money, its unlikely you'll ever be reimbursed for back rent incurred during the eviction proceeding.

Financially, it probably makes more sense to try and collect a few late fews and let things take their natural course than go through the aggravation of court eviction.

Posted on: 2008/1/8 9:28
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I just read the clauses you quoted in that lease. It's a piece of junk.

Quote:

which basically states that "the landlord reserver a right of re-entry which allows the landlord to end this lease and re-enter the aprt if the tenant violates any agreement in this lease. this is done by eviction" ... and also adds that "eviction is started by the filing of a compliant in court" ... "if the cause for eviction is non-payment of Rent, notice does not have to be given to the tenant before the landlord files a complaint"
Under NJ Law you are required to give ten days written notice of late rent that you mail or hand deliver.

POST EDIT - I just checked the law. I'm wrong. Only certain situations defined in the law require notice before filing suit - and it's 14 days not ten.

Further, if the tenant is a senior, you must wait five days before you can give that late notice. That extra time is allowed because seniors don't get their monthly SS money until the 3rd of the month and a weekend might intervene. So the law allows for that.

When a landlord fills out a complaint asking for eviction, he must swear on oath that he has done given that notice of late payment. If the tenant can make a credible denial of receipot - the judge may (is discretionary) throw out the evication suit for that.

If the tenant offers the full rent within that ten days, along with any late fees that are spelled out in the lease, the landlord must accept it.

However, as someone else pointed out, you are not required to accept a partial at any time. Doing so will only cause you problems. It's usually all or none but I have heard of cases where there were documents establishing that the partial was accepted "conditionally" with the balance being paid in full before the ten day deadline - and when it wasn't the suit was still allowed to proceed. But don't count it.

That language saying you can re-enter and take possession for any violation is itself a direct violation of NJ Law. You may enter ONLY on reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) or without notice only for an emergency such as overflowing toilet, smoke boiling out the windows, odor of a dead body coming from under the door, etc. - or a court order.

As for possession, only after a judge issues an order called a ForceAable entry and Detainer - and then only after it has been served in process spelled out by the court. He or she will not even hear a complaint asking for evictionA unless it claims one of the causes that are clearly spelled out in the law.

Frankly that lease should never be used. My recollection, if you search the net, you may find a model NJ lease that pays proper respect to the law and doesn't give false info to either you or your tenant.

Posted on: 2008/1/8 1:53

Edited by justjoe on 2008/1/8 2:33:55
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I am amazed that anyone would rent out an apartment without a basic understanding of NJ Landlord Tenant Law. Sorry to sound so critical, but renting out property is not something one should do without learning your rights and responsibilities. It's serious business.

The grounds for eviction are spelled out in complete detail on many web sites. Do a Google search on the phrase "NJ Landlord Tenant Law."

The first site that comes up in that search is pretty good. You could print it out and read it with marker in hand.

http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/placei ... e/tenantsrights/index.cfm

I have used this knowledge with great effect to defend myself against abusive landlords because NJ Law is one of the fairest and equitable in the USA. It is often cited by ruling in other states. In one case I was living in a building that was to be sold as "empty" to get around rent control laws. The landlady eventually spent a lot of money that she could have saved by simply sitting down and offering me a few rent-free months to move out. As it was, it cost her quite a five-figures in legal fees and, in the end, she had to pay me a full year's rent.

In another case, the landlord wanted me out because I founded a residents association. We were having burglaries and other problems that the landlord ignored. He tried for two years, every few months, to evict me with phony suits in Landlord Tenant Court. He failed each time because I knew the law and I had done nothing wrong. After he had built up that two(+) years record of fake suits, I sued him and won a nice little settlement. And he had to do all the things that he should have done right in the first place.

I still live there. He knows now to just leave me in peace - and to do the right thing when there are problems he is responsible for.

WARNING I'm not a lawyer, so what follows in not advice on how to proceed. Read the law and decide if you understand it well enough to act on your own - if not, hire a lawyer.

NJ law spells out the exact reasons you may evict. Based on what you've said above, some of them seem to apply to you, but watch out for that "seem to apply," because I don't know all the facts on your side or his.

It may be significantly *in your favor* that the unit is a condo. A landlord of a small building with just handful of apartments has a broader range of weapons to evict even a tenant who is otherwise paying on time and not breaking the lease in any way. For those situations, a landlord only need say he wants to evict because he wants to live in the apartment himself or rent to a close relative. Those law above tells you how many units give that status. I don't know if a condo owner has that status, but if one does, he could be in a position to recover possession on 30 days notice. It's worth investigating.

But first, the only way anyone can be evicted from any home rental on any grounds is by a court order from a judge in the local Landlord Tenant Court, in this case at the Courthouse on Newark Ave. The clerk in Room 711 hands out forms to file for eviction and explains how to do that.

Among the causes for eviction that may apply in your case are

(1) non-payment of rent and
(2) chronic late payment.

In the case of non-payment, NJ law and court practice is very lenient to the tenant. This is in the interest of avoiding homelessness.

If the landlord and the tenant show up in court on the appointed date, at the start of the case, the tenant may offer to pay on the spot in cash (no checks or credit cards). The judge will discuss those amounts with the parties and tell the tenant how much must be paid to avoid eviction. If the tenant doesn't have the cash in hand but is willing to pay, the court usually will allow the tenant to return and pay before 3pm with the warning that failure to do so will result in an eviction order.

Once the tenant pays, everything is back to square one . . . until the next failure to pay when due.

Another cause for eviction is chronic late payment. The law does not define what that is. It's really a call by the judge. He would almost certainly (but you never know for sure) require solid documents that show a history to support the complaint. I doubt if even a series of three or four late payments or partials would be enough, but if a landlord can prove that, it might be worth a shot.

Landlords get lucky when the tenant does not show up in court. The court usually grants a default judgment unless there reason to believe that the tenant is in hospital or has some genuine emergency. There are still steps to take, that the court will explain, before the sheriff will do the eviction (called a "Forceable Entry and Detainer" order) but with that order, either on the merits of the case or by default) there only a few things that a knowledgeable tenant or lawyer can do to stop the eviction.

So, keeping in mind my warning that this is NOT LEGAL ADVICE but merely anecdotal reporting drawn from own experiences, get more informed.

Good luck!!

Posted on: 2008/1/8 1:35
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I would file for non payment with the court, But technically if the tenant is paying rent, and the late fee, I don't think you can kick that person out, unless you have a clause in the lease stating that the tenant is subject to removal after x amount of late payments. The court won't kick him out if rent is being paid, even if it is late.

But filing papers might get a fire under his A$$ to realize you are serious, and I would follow it up with a letter. You seem like a good person, hopefully your tenant is the same, and you can straighten it out without going to court.

Good Luck.

Posted on: 2008/1/7 23:49
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I would start court proceddings for eviction immediately. You can go the houing court and get forms. The housing court is located on Newark Avenue in the Journal Square area

Posted on: 2008/1/7 22:51
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I think an owner who's rent out just one condo has a lot of leeway to kick people out, but, anyhow, another practical question to answer would be how well owners of similar condos are getting other, more responsible tenants to pay what you think of as an acceptable rent.

If, say, your tenant is paying fairly high rent, and eventually scraps it up, and other unit owners have a hard time renting out their units within a month, then maybe you're better off keeping the tenant, even if you'll lose a month or two of rent. E.g., maybe getting 80 percent of the rent revenue you'd expected to collect will put you in a pretty good position, relatively speaking.

If, on the other hand, your tenant is paying fairly low rent, and the other units are renting as fast as the owners post notices on Craigslist, then it would make business sense to move against the tenant as aggressively as the law allows.

Posted on: 2008/1/7 22:46
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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some more info

- tenant lives in an apt i.e. my condo in a multi-unit non-owner occupied building - not in a 2-family house or anything like that
- lease is a 12 month lease and expires in aug '08. initial lease was from aug'06-aug'07 and then got extended for another year - so he has about 7 months left on the lease

i will call city hall and / or attorney as suggested.

thanks for your inputs !

Posted on: 2008/1/7 21:09
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Hey NewtoHP,

Is this tenant living in your owner-occipied house -- such as a tenant in a two-family house, with you the landlord living in the other apartment -- or is the tenant living at a non-owner occupied building?

If it's your owner-occupied house, you have a lot more leeway in getting this guy out. If not, I believe the process is much more cumbersome.

About eight years ago, my business partner and I started the eviction procedure against a freeloader in a four-unit building in which we did not reside, and it looked like we were facing four months of non-payment before any action could be taken to physically remove the tenant. Our lawyer said we couldn't accept any payment from the tenant during this period, or the four-month process would start over. Also, he said to expect a lot of pressure from any judge to have the lanlord/tenant dispute office settle the problem, which basically means the lanlord accepts any pittance and promises offered from the tenant. No thanks.

Luckily, the freeloader moved out on his own after a month or so.

Call a lawyer or call City Hall and get a copy of the landlord-tenant regulations.

Good luck.

Posted on: 2008/1/7 19:27
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Do you need me to pay him a visit or do you want a professional debt collector to help?

Click to see original Image in a new window

Posted on: 2008/1/7 19:20
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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The following will have considerable bearing on how to proceed:

Is this a 12-month lease or is it a lease for a lengthier period of time? And, when is your tenant's lease up?

Posted on: 2008/1/7 19:05
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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thanks for your inputs so far.

for your reading pleasure.....the lease is a standard lease that was acquired from a realtor when i rented the apt out.

it does have a sectino that says "violation, eviction and re-entry"

which basically states that "the landlord reserver a right of re-entry which allows the landlord to end this lease and re-enter the aprt if the tenant violates any agreement in this lease. this is done by eviction" ... and also adds that "eviction is started by the filing of a compliant in court" ... "if the cause for eviction is non-payment of Rent, notice does not have to be given to the tenant before the landlord files a complaint"

i have been pretty flexible with the tenant (knowing how busy he is and all that), but nothing seems to work. i sent an email 2 weeks back asking for a response and havent gotten a response yet and does not return my phone calls.

i unfortunately am a single apt landlord, so dont know how all the legal stuff works ... know any good real estate attorneys?

thanks again!

Posted on: 2008/1/7 18:43
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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If you're really smart, this would be the time to decide on a course of action you wish to take with the tenant -- this is a business decision... and I'm sure many on this board will freely give you more advice in this regard.

From my perspective, either you choose to keep the tenant and under what terms and conditions, or take further action to remove the tenant or not-renew the lease at the end of its natural termination.

Whatever your choice of course of action turns out to be, you're actually at a stage where you should spend a few bucks to consult a good landlord tenant attorney to best determine how to implement your business decision.

All the best and good luck.

G

Posted on: 2008/1/7 17:32
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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certified mail with your message and do what NNJR said

Posted on: 2008/1/7 17:23
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Re: non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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Does the lease actually stipulate that you can evict or cancel the lease due to late payment?

If I were you I would just start charging late fees when the rent is late based on the amount stipulated in the lease. He signed it and you are due any occurring late fees.

Posted on: 2008/1/7 17:10
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non paying non communicating tenant - advice needed
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I have rented an apt out to this person since august of '06. He is a well mannered, smart, educated, extremely busy person - was paying rent on or close to 5th of every month.

Over the last couple of months, he has not been paying rent on time and usually takes me a couple of phone calls, txt msgs to get him to pay my rent.

I have not been charging him the penalty or late fees either (the lease contract states 5% of rent + $5 for every late day).

He has paid the rent late (by that i mean more than 7 days late) every month for the last 6 months. To top that, he only paid the Dec rent until last week - i get the usual promises about depositing the rent today, tomorrow, but that does not happen.

I have been extremely patient with this person (had a surgery one month, a bank fraud incident another), but now i feel that this has gone too far and i need to take some action. He had previously promised to setup an electronic payment, but didnt do that either.

So my questions are related to terminating the lease and getting my apt back.

What are the legal procedures for lease termination? The lease does not expire until aug. I have sent this guy email, phone msgs and txt msgs asking him to call me - else i would have no choice but to terminate the lease - he has not bothered to call me back yet.

If i do drop off a written lease termination - what other legal procedures can i pursue to remove this guy from my apt?

Thanks in advance

Posted on: 2008/1/7 15:11
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