In a previous article, we discussed the premise that acceptance of rent, following the termination date set forth in a Notice to Quit, would constitute a “waiver” of that Notice, hence requiring the Court to disregard that Notice and dismiss any subsequent eviction action based upon that Notice. To support this theory, Courts often rely upon the famous case of Carteret Properties v. Variety Donuts, Inc.49 NJ 116 (1967)
By way of New Jersey statutory background, all evictions except those based upon non-payment of rent require the service of a Notice to Quit upon the tenant prior to the filing of an eviction action. In the context of a residential rental, evictions based on lease violations also require the service of a Notice to Cease in advance of the Notice to Quit. For residential evictions, it is the Anti-Eviction Act that determines which claims require a Notice to Cease, as well as determining the length of the Notice period for the Notice to Quit. However, for commercial tenants, it is the lease that determines the nature and length of any notice of default that must be served upon the tenant in advance of the Notice to Quit.
Unlike residential tenants, who can only be evicted for good cause, as defined by the Anti-Eviction Act, a commercial tenant can be evicted upon the expiration of a lease, without the necessity of the landlord showing any good cause. However, in these cases, the Landlord must still serve the tenant with a Notice to Quit prior to the commencement of the eviction action. The Carteret Properties matter involved a commercial tenant, who was alleged to have violated a lease covenant. The landlord had served the tenant with a Notice of Default, and subsequently filed a Notice to Quit. Much of the Court’s decision in Carteret Properties was based on the Court’s determination that the landlord’s Notice to Quit was defective.