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LYONS v. CANTOR ET AL. (01/03/50)

January 3, 1950

LYONS, APPELLANT,
v.
CANTOR ET AL.



Appeal, No. 214, Jan. T., 1949, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, May T., 1949, No. 31, in case of Ben Lyons v. Simon A. Cantor et al. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Harris C. Arnold, with him Arnold, Bricker & Beyer, for appellant.

Alexander T. Stein, for appellees.

Before Maxey, C.j., Drew, Linn, Stern, Patterson, Stearne and Jones, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 363 Pa. Page 414]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE HORACE STERN

The controversy in this case centers on the proper construction to be given to a certain paragraph in a lease.

The lease in question was from Mary B. Ledwith to Simon A. and Benjamin Cantor, for a term of five years and nine months from July 1, 1945 to March 31, 1951. Mrs. Ledwith was the owner of the property Nos. 130, 132 and 134 N. Queen Street, Lancaster, and this lease was for the first floor store room and the basement thereunder at No. 134. Paragraph 20 reads as follows: "From April 1, 1949, to January 1, 1951, upon any

[ 363 Pa. Page 415]

    sale of the real estate of which the herein demised premises are a part, this Lease may be lawfully terminated, at the sole option of the Landlord, by giving to the Tenant six months' notice in writing of such termination. In case this termination privilege is exercised, the option privilege granted in Paragraph 21 is likewise extinguished and rendered null and void."*fn*

On August 31, 1946, Mrs. Ledwith sold and conveyed the property to ben Lyons and at the same time assigned to him the Cantor lease; since then the Cantors have paid their rent to Lyons. On March 17, 1949, he served written notice upon them, pursuant to paragraph 20, that he was terminating the lease as of October 1, 1949, and he requested them to deliver possession to him on that day. They replied, through their counsel, that they refused to recognize the notice to vacate as valid, and they asserted that they had the right to remain in the premises to the end of the term specified in the lease. Lyons thereupon presented a petition to the court for a declaratory judgment. No facts were in dispute. The sole issue raised by the tenants was whether, under paragraph 20 of the lease, a sale of the property which would give the landlord the right of termination had to be made between April 1, 1949, and January 1, 1951, and whether, therefore, the sale by Mrs. Ledwith to

[ 363 Pa. Page 416]

Lyons on August 31, 1946, was ineffective for that purpose. The court below decided in favor of the tenants and ...


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