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Bayside Condominiums Inc. v. Mahoney

Decided: February 27, 1992.

BAYSIDE CONDOMINIUMS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
VINCENT MAHONEY AND BARBARA MAHONEY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Atlantic County.

Petrella, Arnold M. Stein and Kestin. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kestin, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).

Kestin

The opinion of the court was delivered by

KESTIN, J.S.C. (temporarily assigned).

Based upon a notice to quit served on or about November 23, 1987, plaintiff landlord filed a complaint for summary eviction on December 11, 1990. The notice to quit contained a lease termination date of December 1, 1990 and recited:

REASON FOR TERMINATION: The Landlord is converting from the rental market to a condominium of two or more dwelling units, and is entitled to possession pursuant to NJSA 2A:18-61.1(k).

Defendants are post-conversion tenants in the condominium. The case came to trial on a stipulation that the condominium conversion occurred in June 1980 and that the tenants moved into the property in December 1982. The complaint alleged that the tenants had come into possession "pursuant to first a written lease, and then an oral lease".

The trial Judge, relying on Veltri v. Norwood, 195 N.J. Super. 406, 479 A.2d 931 (App.Div.1984), held

N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(d) is applicable only to pre-conversion tenants, which defendants herein are not. Inasmuch as plaintiff's cause of action is predicated upon a three-year notice pursuant to that statute, the cause of action articulated in its complaint must fail, and is hereby dismissed.

The gist of the landlord's argument is that since post-conversion tenants are generally entitled to much less notice in the statutory scheme than are pre-conversion tenants, it cannot be wrong or ineffective to have given these post-conversion tenants the much longer notice to quit -- three years -- instead of the shorter two months. This argument misses several essential points. We affirm for the reason articulated by the trial Judge and on other grounds.

The public policies underlying N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 et seq., commonly called the "Anti-Eviction Act", demand strict compliance with the provisions and conditions of the Act before a landlord may succeed in evicting a tenant. Ashley Court Enters. v. Whittaker, 249 N.J. Super. 552, 556, 592 A.2d 1228 (App.Div.1991). Landlords soon learn to proceed carefully, with precision, in establishing the grounds for eviction and in meeting the Act's procedural requirements.

Some consider the Anti-Eviction Act to be arcane, but in no way is it more intricate than in those provisions governing evictions from condominiums. In Kabakian v. Kobert, 188 N.J. Super. 517, 457 A.2d 1229 (App.Div.1983), we held that the ...


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