On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-838-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Skillman, Graves and Grall.
On October 29, 1998, defendant leased premises located on the second floor of the Lakefront Professional Center in Budd Lake, New Jersey, from plaintiff. The lease was for a term of seven years. The lease provided for rent payable at $4,500 per month for the first year, $5,000 per month for the second year and $6,000 per month for the remainder of the lease term. Paragraph twenty-seven of the lease stated:
This lease contains the entire contract between the parties. No representative, agent or employee of the Landlord has been authorized to make any representations or promises with reference to the within letting or to vary, alter or modify the terms hereof. No additions, changes or modifications, renewals or extensions hereof, shall be binding unless reduced to writing and signed by the Landlord and Tenant.
During the lease term, there was correspondence between the parties regarding defendant's failure to pay the full amount of rent. In August 2003, Ellen Silberstein, one of defendant's principals, sent a handwritten note to plaintiff, which stated:
Thank you for being so patient. We are reorganizing our expenses and will make every effort to catch up with you.
On November 28, 2005, another one of defendant's principals, Donald M. Bello, sent a letter to plaintiff, which stated in pertinent part:
Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss with me the open matters. As a summary of our discussions, please note the following:
Please find attached to this letter the proposal which you requested regarding the outstanding account. Obviously this plan assumes the execution of a lease renewal acceptable on 295C Route 46 that is acceptable to both parties.
Again I wish to thank you for taking the time to try and resolve this matter. Per your request, I have not included in the attached document any discussion regarding execution of a new lease so that it may be used as you see fit. However, the final execution of the agreement will require that we both execute a mutually acceptable new 5 year lease as the payment plan is tied to the 5 year plan (i.e., first payment due (separate check) with first payment under new lease and lump sum payment due at same time as last lease payment)[.] As we are currently discussing such matters, and as per your conversation with Ms. Silberstein, Bell will assume unless we hear otherwise that the current lease will remain in effect until such time as a new lease can be discussed and executed.
The attachment to this letter, signed by Silberstein and Bello, stated:
This document, when combined with [the] assumptions outlined in our November 28, 2005 letter, outlines Bell Environmental's proposed plan to settle an outstanding account ...