On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County.
Havey, Conley and Peskoe. The opinion of the court was delivered by Conley, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).
The opinion of the court was delivered by
CONLEY, J.S.C. (temporarily assigned).
Plaintiffs appeal summary judgment granted in favor of defendant Dover General Hospital (Dover) dismissing their
complaint. The complaint alleges a violation of the Anti-Eviction Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1 to -61.12. We reverse.
From 1980 to May 15, 1990 plaintiffs were residential tenants of Dover occupying, pursuant to month-to-month leases, a house located at 22 Hurd Street, Mine Hill. In 1988 and 1989 Dover considered conversion of the house from residential use to an adult day care center for its alzheimer patients. In September 1989 a decision was made to file a site plan application with the Mine Hill Zoning Board for the conversion and a proposal from an engineering firm for traffic studies and design work was obtained.
Consistent with its plans to convert the use of the house, on September 29, 1989 Dover served upon plaintiffs a notice to quit. The notice was issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1h which permits removal of residential tenants protected by the act where the owner of the property "seeks to retire permanently the residential building . . . from residential use." Plaintiffs were requested to vacate by March 31, 1991. See N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.2d (18 months notice to quit required for removal pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1h). Specifically the notice stated:
You are hereby notified to vacate and quit the premises leased and currently occupied by you from Dover General Hospital and Medical Center, being the house located at 22 Hurd Street, Mine Hill, New Jersey, on March 31, 1991 and to deliver possession of the property to us on that date. Your tenancy is being terminated by us under N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1(h) because we are permanently retiring this property from residential use.
Although not contained in the written notice, plaintiffs were orally advised that the reason for the notice was Dover's plan to convert the property to an adult day care facility. At the same time, they were served with a separate notice to quit and offer of new tenancy raising their rent from $431.25 to $563, which they accepted. The offer, however, also permitted Dover to further raise the rent upon 60 days notice.
According to Mrs. Weise's certification filed in opposition to Dover's motion for summary judgment, plaintiffs did not want to move, but felt ...