(a) As used in this section, the term “creation of a security interest” includes the sale of a lease contract that is subject to § 28:9-109(a)(3).
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section and § 28:9-407, a provision in a lease agreement which (i) prohibits the voluntary or involuntary transfer, including a transfer by sale, sublease, creation or enforcement of a security interest, or attachment, levy, or other judicial process, of an interest of a party under the lease contract or of the lessor’s residual interest in the goods, or (ii) makes such a transfer an event of default, gives rise to the rights and remedies provided in subsection (d), but a transfer that is prohibited or is an event of default under the lease agreement is otherwise effective.
(c) A provision in a lease agreement which (i) prohibits a transfer of a right to damages for default with respect to the whole lease contract or of a right to payment arising out of the transferor’s due performance of the transferor’s entire obligation, or (ii) makes such a transfer an event of default, is not enforceable, and such a transfer is not a transfer that materially impairs the prospect of obtaining return performance by, materially changes the duty of, or materially increases the burden or risk imposed on, the other party to the lease contract within the purview of subsection (d).
(d) Subject to subsection (c) and § 28:9-407:
(1) If a transfer is made which is made an event of default under a lease agreement, the party to the lease contract not making the transfer, unless that party waives the default or otherwise agrees, has the rights and remedies described in § 28:2A-501(2);
(2) If paragraph (1) is not applicable and if a transfer is made that (i) is prohibited under a lease agreement or (ii) materially impairs the prospect of obtaining return performance by, materially changes the duty of, or materially increases the burden or risk imposed on, the other party to the lease contract, unless the party not making the transfer agrees at any time to the transfer in the lease contract or otherwise, then, except as limited by contract, (i) the transferor is liable to the party not making the transfer for damages caused by the transfer to the extent that the damages could not reasonably be prevented by the party not making the transfer, and (ii) a court having jurisdiction may grant other appropriate relief, including cancellation of the lease contract or an injunction against the transfer.
(e) A transfer of “the lease” or of “all my rights under the lease”, or a transfer in similar general terms, is a transfer of rights and, unless the language or the circumstances, as in a transfer for security, indicate the contrary, the transfer is a delegation of duties by the transferor to the transferee. Acceptance by the transferee constitutes a promise by the transferee to perform those duties. The promise is enforceable by either the transferor or the other party to the lease contract.
(f) Unless otherwise agreed by the lessor and the lessee, a delegation of performance does not relieve the transferor as against the other party of any duty to perform or of any liability for default.
(g) In a consumer lease, to prohibit the transfer of an interest of a party under the lease contract or to make a transfer an event of default, the language must be specific, by a writing, and conspicuous.
(July 22, 1992, D.C. Law 9-128, § 2(b), 39 DCR 3830; May 16, 1995, D.C. Law 10-255, § 21, 41 DCR 5193; July 25, 1995, D.C. Law 11-30, § 7(b), 42 DCR 1547; Oct. 26, 2000, D.C. Law 13-201, § 201(d)(2), 47 DCR 7576.)
1981 Ed., § 28:2A-303.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 13-201, enacting a new Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code applicable July 1, 2001, made conforming amendments to this section applicable upon the same date.
Uniform Commercial Code Comment
Uniform Statutory Source:Sections 2-210 and 9-311.
Changes: The provisions of Sections 2-210 and 9-311 were incorporated in this section, with substantial modifications to reflect leasing terminology and practice and to harmonize the principles of the respective provisions, i.e., limitations on delegation of performance on the one hand and alienability of rights on the other. In addition, unlike Section 2-210 which deals only with voluntary transfers, this section deals with involuntary as well as voluntary transfers. Moreover, the principle of Section 9-318(4) denying effectiveness to contractual terms prohibiting assignments of receivables due and to become due also is implemented.
Purposes: 1. Subsection (2) states a rule, consistent with Section 9-401(b), that voluntary and involuntary transfers of an interest of a party under the lease contract or of the lessor’s residual interest, including by way of the creation or enforcement of a security interest, are effective, notwithstanding a provision in the lease agreement prohibiting the transfer or making the transfer an event of default. Although the transfers are effective, the provision in the lease agreement is nevertheless enforceable, but only as provided in subsection (4). Under subsection (4) the prejudiced party is limited to the remedies on “default under the lease contract” in this Article and, except as limited by this Article, as provided in the lease agreement, if the transfer has been made an event of default. Section 2A-501(2). Usually, there will be a specific provision to this effect or a general provision making a breach of a covenant an event of default. In those cases where the transfer is prohibited, but not made an event of default, the prejudiced party may recover damages; or, if the damage remedy would be ineffective adequately to protect that party, the court can order cancellation of the lease contract or enjoin the transfer. This rule that such provisions generally are enforceable is subject to subsection (3) and Section 9-407, which make such provisions unenforceable in certain instances.
2. Under Section 9-407, a provision in a lease agreement which prohibits the creation or enforcement of a security interest, including sales of lease contracts subject to Article 9 ( Section 9-109(a)(3)), or makes it an event of default is generally not enforceable, reflecting the policy of Section 9-406 and former Section 9-318(4).
3. Subsection (3) is based upon Section 2-210(2) and Section 9-406. It makes unenforceable a prohibition against transfers of certain rights to payment or a provision making the transfer an event of default. It also provides that such transfers do not materially impair the prospect of obtaining return performance by, materially change the duty of, or materially increase the burden or risk imposed on, the other party to the lease contract so as to give rise to the rights and remedies stated in subsection (4). Accordingly, a transfer of a right to payment cannot be prohibited or made an event of default, or be one that materially impairs performance, changes duties or increases risk, if the right is already due or will become due without further performance being required by the party to receive payment. Thus, a lessor can transfer the right to future payments under the lease contract, including by way of a grant of a security interest, and the transfer will not give rise to the rights and remedies stated in subsection (4) if the lessor has no remaining performance under the lease contract. The mere fact that the lessor is obligated to allow the lessee to remain in possession and to use the goods as long as the lessee is not in default does not mean that there is “remaining performance” on the part of the lessor. Likewise, the fact that the lessor has potential liability under a “non-operating” lease contract for breaches of warranty does not mean that there is “remaining performance.” In contrast, the lessor would have “remaining performance” under a lease contract requiring the lessor to regularly maintain and service the goods or to provide “upgrades” of the equipment on a periodic basis in order to avoid obsolescence. The basic distinction is between a mere potential duty to respond which is not “remaining performance,” and an affirmative duty to render stipulated performance. Although the distinction may be difficult to draw in some cases, it is instructive to focus on the difference between “operating” and “non-operating” leases as generally understood in the marketplace. Even if there is “remaining performance” under a lease contract, a transfer for security of a right to payment that is made an event of default or that is in violation of a prohibition against transfer does not give rise to the rights and remedies under subsection (4) if it does not constitute an actual delegation of a material performance under Section 9-407.
4. The application of either the rule of Section 9-407 or the rule of subsection (3) to the grant by the lessor of a security interest in the lessor’s right to future payment under the lease contract may produce the same result. Both provisions generally protect security transfers by the lessor in particular because the creation by the lessor of a security interest or the enforcement of that interest generally will not prejudice the lessee’s rights if it does not result in a delegation of the lessor’s duties. To the contrary, the receipt of loan proceeds or relief from the enforcement of an antecedent debt normally should enhance the lessor’s ability to perform its duties under the lease contract. Nevertheless, there are circumstances where relief might be justified. For example, if ownership of the goods is transferred pursuant to enforcement of a security interest to a party whose ownership would prevent the lessee from continuing to possess the goods, relief might be warranted. See 49 U.S.C. § 1401(a) and (b) which places limitations on the operation of aircraft in the United States based on the citizenship or corporate qualification of the registrant.
5. Relief on the ground of material prejudice when the lease agreement does not prohibit the transfer or make it an event of default should be afforded only in extreme circumstances, considering the fact that the party asserting material prejudice did not insist upon a provision in the lease agreement that would protect against such a transfer.
6. Subsection (4) implements the rule of subsection (2). Subsection (2) provides that, even though a transfer is effective, a provision in the lease agreement prohibiting it or making it an event of default may be enforceable as provided in subsection ( 4). See Brummond v. First National Bank of Clovis, 656 P.2d 884, 35 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. (Callaghan) 1311 (N. Mex. 1983), stating the analogous rule for Section 9-311. If the transfer prohibited by the lease agreement is made an event of default, then, under subsection (4)(a), unless the default is waived or there is an agreement otherwise, the aggrieved party has the rights and remedies referred to in Section 2A-501(2), viz. those in this Article and, except as limited in the Article, those provided in the lease agreement. In the unlikely circumstance that the lease agreement prohibits the transfer without making a violation of the prohibition an event of default or, even if there is no prohibition against the transfer, and the transfer is one that materially impairs performance, changes duties, or increases risk (for example, a sublease or assignment to a party using the goods improperly or for an illegal purpose), then subsection (4)(b) is applicable. In that circumstance, unless the party aggrieved by the transfer has otherwise agreed in the lease contract, such as by assenting to a particular transfer or to transfers in general, or agrees in some other manner, the aggrieved party has the right to recover damages from the transferor and a court may, in appropriate circumstances, grant other relief, such as cancellation of the lease contract or an injunction against the transfer.
7. If a transfer gives rise to the rights and remedies provided in subsection (4), the transferee as an alternative may propose, and the other party may accept, adequate cure or compensation for past defaults and adequate assurance of future due performance under the lease contract. Subsection (4) does not preclude any other relief that may be available to a party to the lease contract aggrieved by a transfer subject to an enforceable prohibition, such as an action for interference with contractual relations.
8. Subsection (7) requires that a provision in a consumer lease prohibiting a transfer, or making it an event of default, must be specific, written and conspicuous. See Section 1-201(10). This assists in protecting a consumer lessee against surprise assertions of default.
9. Subsection (5) is taken almost verbatim from the provisions of Section 2-210(5). The subsection states a rule of construction that distinguishes a commercial assignment, which substitutes the assignee for the assignor as to rights and duties, and an assignment for security or financing assignment, which substitutes the assignee for the assignor only as to rights. Note that the assignment for security or financing assignment is a subset of all security interests. Security interest is defined to include “any interest of a buyer of . . . chattel paper”. Section 1-201(37). Chattel paper is defined to include a lease. Section 9-102. Thus, a buyer of leases is the holder of a security interest in the leases. That conclusion should not influence this issue, as the policy is quite different. Whether a buyer of leases is the holder of a commercial assignment, or an assignment for security or financing assignment should be determined by the language of the assignment or the circumstances of the assignment.
Cross References:Sections 1-201(11), 1-201(37), 2-210, 2A-401, 9-102(1)(b), 9-104(f), 9-105(1)(a), 9-206, and 9-318.
Definitional Cross References: “Agreed” and “Agreement”. Section 1-201(3).
“Conspicuous”. Section 1-201(10).
“Goods”. Section 2A-103(1)(h).
“Lease”. Section 2A-103(1)(j).
“Lease contract”. Section 2A-103(1)(l).
“Lessee”. Section 2A-103(1)(n).
“Lessor”. Section 2A-103(1)(p).
“Lessor’s residual interest”. Section 2A-103(1)(q).
“Notice”. Section 1-201(25).
“Party”. Section 1-201(29).
“Person”. Section 1-201(30).
“Reasonable time”. Section 1-204(1) and (2).
“Rights”. Section 1-201(36).
“Term”. Section 1-201(42).
“Writing”. Section 1-201(46).