[161 NJSuper Page 415] This case raises an issue of first impression in this state whether a guest or roomer in a hotel, motel
or guest house*fn1 may be dispossessed from his room without resort to legal process.
The facts appear to be uncontroverted. Plaintiff was living in a room at the Young Men's Christian Association in the City of Passaic (hereinafter Y.M.C.A.) on a week-to-week basis. During the week of June 5, 1978 plaintiff became drunk and disorderly, was arrested by the local police and subsequently released. Returning to the Y.M.C.A., plaintiff found his room locked and was told not to re-enter the building.
Plaintiff, represented by Legal Aid, moved at an order to show cause hearing to be allowed to re-enter his room. Also, he filed a complaint for recovery of possession or treble damages pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:39-8 ("Forcible Entry and Detainer").
Plaintiff did not appear to dispute the grounds for removal, but rather the method used by the agents for the Y.M.C.A. Plaintiff argues that the "lock-out" or self-help remedy employed by the Y.M.C.A. is violative of the legal procedures for eviction as mandated by N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 and N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53 et seq.
Defendant, however, submits that the Y.M.C.A. is in the category of a hotel, motel or guest house and is excluded from the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 and N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53.
A dispossess action is initially governed by N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 et seq. , which establishes guidelines for the removal
of resident tenants "from any house, building, mobile home * * * or tenement leased for residential purposes, other than * * * a hotel, motel or other guest house or part thereof rented to a transient guest or seasonal tenant * * *." (Emphasis supplied.)
If the Y.M.C.A. were deemed to be a multiple-dwelling apartment operation falling within N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1, then any lawful lock-out must conform to the appropriate judicial procedures provided by statute. Inasmuch as counsel for both parties conceded that the Y.M.C.A. was not an apartment house, further inquiry into this status is unnecessary. Now in order for the Y.M.C.A. to be contemplated as a hotel the next appropriate statute should be reviewed.
N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53 provides:
Except for residential lessees and tenants included in [N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1] any lessee or tenant at will or sufferance, or for a part of a year * * of any houses, buildings, lands or tenements, * * may be removed from such ...