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Farkas v. Sud

A-3845-99T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2001) (Unpublished)

LEASES; NOTICE—Where a lease conditions an outcome on the occurrence of a defined event, there is no implied requirement that one party gave the other party notice of that event.

A daughter arranged a lease for her ailing father to rent an apartment. The lease contained a handwritten provision that, “in the event of the death of tenant, or the tenant becomes permanently hospitalized, the lease shall cease with a two month rental fee. Should the apartment be rented within this 60 day period, a pro rata adjustment will be given to the estate.” The lease term was to begin on May 1, but six days earlier, the tenant was admitted to the hospital and died on May 1. The landlord argued that the two months for which rent was owed were June and July, not May and June. Its theory was that May was an “occupancy” month. The Court saw this as a contract action and not one that implicated the statutory procedures to be followed upon a tenant’s death. It pointed out that the lease provision did not require notice to the landlord of either the hospitalization or the death. It also noted that the landlord learned of the hospitalization before May 1 and learned of the death in early May. Consequently, the Court, agreeing with the lower court, considered May and June to be the final “two month rental fee.”

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