A commercial tenant in Manhattan failed by a few days to give written notice of its intention to renew a lease under which it had been occupying prime property for over fifteen years. The late notice was back-dated, but no claim was made by the tenant that the back-date was the correct date. After a non-jury trial, the trial court invoked equitable considerations in finding that the late notice should be excused. On appeal, the landlord argued that the back-dating was fraudulent, and that there had not been proof that the tenant had expended substantial sums in anticipation of renewing the lease. The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court decision. In agreeing with the result of excusing late notice of renewal, the court said that there was sufficient proof by the tenant that loss of the space would cause a loss of good will, a very valuable asset, and would cause unemployment for many employees. The case appears to have softened somewhat the New York strict rule of enforcing the terms of the lease even when the result is harsh.
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