Posts Tagged ‘Notice to Quit’
It is not unusual for me to get a call from a commercial landlord battling with a tenant who is in arrears asking whether it is OK to accept a check from the tenant for less than the rent that is owed. Typical of most answers in the law, I tell them it depends. Initially, it is important to distinguish between “receipt” of rent and “acceptance” of rent. If a tenant simply mails in a check to the landlord, who holds it or brings it to court then that check will be deemed as only having been received by the landlord – not accepted. The reasons underlying this distinction are clear – any tenant behind on rent or otherwise in default of the lease could get out from under the default by simply mailing a check to the landlord. A landlord’s mere receipt of rent should have no impact on the status of the tenant’s default.
In an unpublished decision, issued on November 7, 2011, by New Jersey’s Appellate Division, the importance of drafting a notice to quit in accordance with the law is highlighted. In Sanguiliano v. Walker, 27-2-4205 App. Div., Plaintiff’s summary dispossession action was based on her alleged disorderly conduct and violations of the landlord’s rules and regulations. The dispossession action was governed by the requirements of the Anti-Eviction Act. According to the Appellate Division, the “notice to quit” did not identify any “continued” disorderly conduct or violation of the landlord’s rules and regulations committed by defendant after her initial receipt of the “notice to cease.” Because the notice to quit was defective, the Appellate Division ruled the trial court should have granted defendant’s motion to vacate the default judgment for possession and dismissed plaintiff’s complaint. It reversed the judgment for possession.
Commercial landlords are occasionally confronted with a situation where one of their tenants is not abiding by the lease. Some commercial landlords feel that they can simply lock the tenant out of its space as result of any breach under the lease. This is not the case under New Jersey law. Any landlord who resorts to self help risks being sued by a tenant for any number of causes of action, including, but not limited to, wrongful eviction, trespass, and breach of contract.