NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued Telephonically May 7, 2013
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-1884-11.
Samuel H. Davis argued the cause for appellant.
Lawrence C. Weiner argued the cause for respondents (Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., attorneys; Mr. Weiner, of counsel and on the brief; David Kluska, on the brief).
Before Judges Alvarez and St. John.
Appellant Freedman Service Co. (Freedman) appeals from a July 9, 2012 order of the Law Division granting judgment in favor of respondents Han Ah Reum Farm Corp. (Farm), Young Su Hun, and Duk Ja Yun, finding that Freedman breached the terms of the written lease between the parties and failed to return Farm's security deposit in the amount of $13, 383.50. Our examination of the record satisfies us that the Law Division's decision was properly premised on facts in the record and is consonant with relevant statutory provisions. Accordingly, we affirm.
The record discloses the following facts and procedural history leading to the determination under review.
Freedman is the owner of a shopping center in which Farm operated a Korean market under a lease entered into on May 1, 1997. The lease was for a term of ten years, terminating on April 30, 2007. The lease provided for a non-automatic renewal option of five years. If the renewal option were exercised, the rent for those additional five years was to be adjusted in accordance with the consumer price index as set forth in paragraph A 16 of the lease. Additionally, the lease contained a notice provision, requiring that all notices "shall be in writing[.]"
At the end of the initial term on April 30, 2007, neither Farm nor Freedman gave notice to the other exercising the renewal term. Farm remained in possession of the premises and continued to pay rent each month, as billed by Freedman.
On October 26, 2010, Farm sent a letter terminating what it referred to as a month-to-month tenancy, effective November 30, 2010. In a letter dated October 29, 2010, Freedman responded, stating that because Farm continued paying rent after the expiration of the original lease term, Farm had exercised the option for renewal and was not in possession of a month-to-month tenancy. Thereafter, Farm paid rent through the month of November 2010, and vacated the premises in December 2010.
Freedman asserted that by remaining in the premises and paying rent, Farm effectively exercised its option to renew the term of the lease for an additional five years from April 30, 2007, to April 30, 2012. Accordingly, it brought a claim seeking $296, 856.43 in net damages for arrears of rent and additional rent from December 2010 through May 2012. However, it later conceded ...