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Mount Airy-Surry County Airport Authority v. Angel

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

October 1, 2019

MOUNT AIRY-SURRY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY, Plaintiff,
v.
DENNIS DWAIN ANGEL and WYATT DWAIN ANGEL, Defendants.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 26 March 2019.

          Appeal by defendants from order entered 15 May 2018 by Judge William F. Southern, III in Surry County, No. 17 CVD 1899 District Court.

          C. Daniel Barrett for plaintiff-appellee.

          Randolph M. James, P.C., by Randolph M. James, for defendants-appellants.

          DIETZ, JUDGE.

         Dennis Dwain Angel and his son Wyatt Dwain Angel leased a hangar at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport for more than ten years. In late 2017, with little more than a week's notice, the airport told the Angels that the lease was terminated and they must vacate the hangar.

         We acknowledge that the Angels presented evidence indicating that they were treated differently from other airport tenants, and that a lawsuit whose pleadings became a part of the record in this case allege there is much more to the parties' dispute than a mere disagreement over a hangar lease.

          But this appeal concerns only the application of settled contract law principles to a proceeding for summary ejectment. Applying those principles here, the Angels have not forecasted sufficient evidence to create any genuine issues of material fact. By 2017, the parties' lease arrangement was on a month-to-month basis. Thus, the trial court properly entered summary judgment in this case.

         Facts and Procedural History

         On 31 May 2011, Dennis Dwain Angel and his son Wyatt Dwain Angel entered into a three-year lease agreement with Mount Airy-Surry County Airport for Hangar #5. The rent was $2, 400 per year due in monthly $200 payments. The lease term was from 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2014.

         The lease agreement contained a "Renewal Option" and a provision for "Holdovers":

(19) Renewal Option: In the event Tenant is not in default of the terms, covenants and conditions of this agreement, Tenant and Landlord may agree to renew this lease at the expiration of the original term for one (1) year on the same terms and conditions contained herein, except for the fixed minimum monthly rent which shall be at a negotiated amount. Such renewal agreement shall be made in writing on or before the termination of the original term. Notwithstanding the provisions contained herein, under no circumstances may this agreement be renewed or extended to a date more than 5 years beyond the original beginning date set forth herein.
(20) Holdovers: Except as provided above, continued occupancy of the premises beyond the initial lease period, or beyond any renewal period, shall be on a month-to-month basis.

         The lease was not renewed in writing before the contract's expiration on 31 May 2014. But the Angels did not vacate the hangar at the end of the original lease term. Instead, they continued to pay the airport $200 per month to use the hangar. This went on for more than three years, including a period in 2017 ...


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