Bellini v. The Patterson Oil Co.
A lease requirement that a tenant provide 90 days' written notice of intent to abandon the premises may not be effective, if the tenant has become a month-to-month tenant. The plaintiff landlord, Gayle Bellini, alleged that the defendant breached the lease and abandoned the premises, prior to the expiration of the extended lease term, because the lease automatically renewed on Nov. 1, 2009 and expires on Oct. 31, 2014. The plaintiff requested that the court award damages for loss of rent and reimbursement for costs of utilities, taxes and insurance premiums that the defendant allegedly agreed to pay. The defendant objected that after the written lease and lease extension expired on April 30, 1996, the defendant was a month-to-month tenant, and the defendant was not required to provide 90 days' written notice. The court found that in 1994 the parties agreed to a one-year extension of the 1989 lease, and rent of $27,600 per year, and that in 1995 the parties agreed to another extension. After April 30, 1996, the parties called and sent e-mails to discuss the pertinent terms of the parties' lease. The court found that after April 30, 1996, the defendant became a month-to-month tenant, and the defendant was not bound by the 90-day written notice requirement in the lease. The defendant was a month-to-month tenant when the defendant opted to vacate the premises in April 2011. Rejecting the plaintiff's argument that the lease ended on Oct. 31, 2014, the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.