WATERBURY TWIN, LLC, et al. v. RENAL TREATMENT CENTERS, NORTHEAST, INC., et al., SC 18218
Housing Session at Waterbury
Summary Process; Notice to Quit; Whether Plaintiffs were Required to Serve a New Notice to Quit Before Proceeding on a Second Complaint, Where they Withdrew Their First Complaint due to a Late Return; Whether Notice to Quit was Defective Under General Statutes § 47a-23. The plaintiffs initiated a summary process action against the defendants by serving a notice to quit possession or occupancy, which specified the following reasons: (1) "by reason of any expressed stipulation therein," and (2) "nonpayment of rent when due for commercial property." Pursuant to General Statutes § 47a-23 (a) (1), a notice to quit may be given "when a rental agreement or lease of such property . . . terminates for any of the following reasons: . . . (B) by reason of any expressed stipulation therein; . . . (E) nonpayment of rent when due for commercial property. . . . " When the defendants failed to vacate the premises within the time provided, the plaintiffs issued a summary process complaint, which was served upon the defendants. The marshal made a late return of the complaint to the court, however, and the defendants moved to dismiss the action. Subsequently, the plaintiffs voluntarily withdrew the complaint. They then issued a new complaint without issuing a new notice to quit. The defendants moved to dismiss the second complaint based on the plaintiffs' failure to serve a new notice to quit. In the alternative, they asserted that the notice to quit was defective under § 47a-23 because they were not provided with proper notice of the reasons why they should quit possession or occupancy of the premises. The court dismissed the complaint. In doing so, it determined that the withdrawal of the first complaint returned the parties to the status quo that had existed prior to the service of the notice to quit. It thus found that the withdrawal of the complaint revived the written lease and, therefore, that the plaintiffs were required to serve a new notice to quit before proceeding on a second complaint. In addition, the court agreed that the notice to quit was defective. It determined that although the language in the notice to quit "tracked" the statutory language, the first reason provided no notice to the defendants as to why they should quit possession and the second reason failed to provide adequate notice to them because "it d[id] not specify what [was] due, such as base rent or additional rent." It further found that the second complaint was at variance with the terms stated in the notice to quit. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that since there had been no determination in the prior action that the initial notice to quit was defective, that notice remained valid to terminate the lease, and, because they never intended to revive the lease and never withdrew the notice to quit, they properly brought a second summary process action on the same notice to quit. Further, they assert that the court improperly determined that the notice to quit was defective.