July 21, 2009
JOHN MAGLIONE & VALERIE MAGLIONE, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
KEN MOLOK & DONNA MOLOK, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, LT-7600-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 15, 2008
Before Judges Collester and Graves.
In this tenancy action defendants Ken Molok and Donna Molok appeal from the February 8, 2008 judgment of the Special Civil Part by Judge Dennis R. O'Brien granting judgment of possession of the leased premises to the defendants-landlords John and Valerie Maglione and denying the tenants' application to apply their security deposit for payment of rent due. We note at the outset that subsequent to the filing of briefs in this matter the landlords addressed a letter to a member of the Appellate Division Clerk's Office advising that on July 20, 2008, the tenants voluntarily returned possession of the leased premises to the landlords, attaching a letter from the tenants' attorney to that effect. Accordingly, the request by tenants on this appeal to vacate the judgment for possession is moot.
The landlords' letter of August 2, 2008, further advises that the tenants' security deposit was applied toward the July 2008 rent in the amount of $1,150 along with other documented charges and that the landlords submitted a check for the remaining balance of the security deposit of $130.22 to the tenants' attorney. If in fact the tenants accepted the check the matter is resolved and the appeal is moot.
In any event, we affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge O'Brien in his oral decision of February 8, 2008, holding that defendants were not entitled to the use of their security deposit as payment for rent based on the landlords' substantial compliance with N.J.S.A. 46:8-19(c). As we stated in Princeton Hill Associates v. Lynch, 241 N.J. Super. 363, 365 (App. Div. 1990):
Even if the notice is slightly deficient (such as . . . where the address of a well-known local bank had been left out of the lease), involuntary application of the deposit to the rent may be withheld by the court, after examining the relevant circumstances.
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