Monday, January 6, 2014

Martinique Realty Corp. v. Hull case brief

Martinique Realty Corp. v. Hull case brief summary
166 A.2d 803 (1960)

Plaintiff lessor appealed from the order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, which granted defendant tenants' motion for summary judgment in plaintiff's suit to recover unpaid rent.

Plaintiff lessor purchased a leasehold interest in a 55-apartment building in which defendant tenants resided. Plaintiff brought suit for recovery of past due rent and defendants asserted that the entire rent for the term of the lease had been paid in advance to the former lessor who sold the building to plaintiff.

The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff argued that the prepayment of rent was no bar to recovery when that prepayment was inconsistent with the terms of the lease. Plaintiff also argued that it had no notice of the advance payments and was not required to make inquiry of each tenant as to his rights under his tenancy.

  • The court noted that N.J. Statute §46:8-3 stated that a lessee's rights for a term of years survived the assignment of a lessor's interest. 
  • The plaintiff had a duty to inquire as to the defendants' rights under the lease. 
  • With respect to the details of a tenant's leasehold arrangement with his landlord, the purchaser's duty of inquiry did not vary with the number of tenants that occupied the property. 
  • The court affirmed the lower court.
The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant tenants because plaintiff lessor failed to fulfill its duty of inquiry with respect to the defendants' rights under their tenancy, and the plaitniff was subject to the prior effective discharge by defendants of their rental obligations.

See also: Martinique Realty Corp. v. Hull full case on Google Scholar

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