(a) Subject to § 28:2A-303, a subsequent lessee from a lessor of goods under an existing lease contract obtains, to the extent of the leasehold interest transferred, the leasehold interest in the goods that the lessor had or had power to transfer, and, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and § 28:2A-527(d), takes subject to the existing lease contract. A lessor with voidable title has power to transfer a good leasehold interest to a good faith subsequent lessee for value, but only to the extent set forth in the preceding sentence. If goods have been delivered under a transaction of purchase, the lessor has that power even though:
(1) The lessor’s transferor was deceived as to the identity of the lessor;
(2) The delivery was in exchange for a check which is later dishonored;
(3) It was agreed that the transaction was to be a “cash sale”; or
(4) The delivery was procured through fraud punishable as larcenous under the criminal law.
(b) A subsequent lessee in the ordinary course of business from a lessor who is a merchant dealing in goods of that kind to whom the goods were entrusted by the existing lessee of that lessor before the interest of the subsequent lessee became enforceable against that lessor obtains, to the extent of the leasehold interest transferred, all of that lessor’s and the existing lessee’s rights to the goods, and takes free of the existing lease contract.
(c) A subsequent lessee from the lessor of goods that are subject to an existing lease contract and are covered by a certificate of title issued under a statute of the District or of another jurisdiction takes no greater rights than those provided both by this and by the certificate of title statute.
1981 Ed., § 28:2A-304.
Uniform Commercial Code Comment
Uniform Statutory Source:Section 2-403.
Changes: While Section 2-403 was used as a model for this section, the provisions of Section 2-403 were significantly revised to reflect leasing practices and to integrate this Article with certificate of title statutes.
Purposes: 1. This section must be read in conjunction with, as it is subject to, the provisions of Section 2A-303, which govern voluntary and involuntary transfers of rights and duties under a lease contract, including the lessor’s residual interest in the goods.
2. This section must also be read in conjunction with Section 2-403. This section and Section 2A-305 are derived from Section 2-403, which states a unified policy on good faith purchases of goods. Given the scope of the definition of purchaser ( Section 1-201(33)), a person who bought goods to lease as well as a person who bought goods subject to an existing lease from a lessor will take pursuant to Section 2-403. Further, a person who leases such goods from the person who bought them should also be protected under Section 2-403, first because the lessee’s rights are derivative and second because the definition of purchaser should be interpreted to include one who takes by lease; no negative implication should be drawn from the inclusion of lease in the definition of purchase in this Article. Section 2A-103(1)(v).
3. There are hypotheticals that relate to an entrustee’s unauthorized lease of entrusted goods to a third party that are outside the provisions of Sections 2-403, 2A-304 and 2A-305. Consider a sale of goods by M, a merchant, to B, a buyer. After paying for the goods B allows M to retain possession of the goods as B is short of storage. Before B calls for the goods M leases the goods to L, a lessee. This transaction is not governed by Section 2-403(2) as L is not a buyer in the ordinary course of business. Section 1-201(9). Further, this transaction is not governed by Section 2A-304(2) as B is not an existing lessee. Finally, this transaction is not governed by Section 2A-305(2) as B is not M’s lessor. Section 2A-307(2) resolves the potential dispute between B, M and L. By virtue of B’s entrustment of the goods to M and M’s lease of the goods to L, B has a cause of action against M under the common law. Sections 2A-103(4) and 1-103. See, e.g., Restatement (Second) of Torts ss 222A-243. Thus, B is a creditor of M. Sections 2A-103(4) and 1-201(12). Section 2A-307(2) provides that B, as M’s creditor, takes subject to M’s lease to L. Thus, if L does not default under the lease, L’s enjoyment and possession of the goods should be undisturbed. However, B is not without recourse. B’s action should result in a judgment against M providing, among other things, a turnover of all proceeds arising from M’s lease to L, as well as a transfer of all of M’s right, title and interest as lessor under M’s lease to L, including M’s residual interest in the goods. Section 2A-103(1)(q).
4. Subsection (1) states a rule with respect to the leasehold interest obtained by a subsequent lessee from a lessor of goods under an existing lease contract. The interest will include such leasehold interest as the lessor has in the goods as well as the leasehold interest that the lessor had the power to transfer. Thus, the subsequent lessee obtains unimpaired all rights acquired under the law of agency, apparent agency, ownership or other estoppel, whether based upon statutory provisions or upon case law principles. Sections 2A-103(4) and 1-103. In general, the subsequent lessee takes subject to the existing lease contract, including the existing lessee’s rights thereunder. Furthermore, the subsequent lease contract is, of course, limited by its own terms, and the subsequent lessee takes only to the extent of the leasehold interest transferred thereunder.
5. Subsection (1) further provides that a lessor with voidable title has power to transfer a good leasehold interest to a good faith subsequent lessee for value. In addition, subsections (1)(a) through (d) provide specifically for the protection of the good faith subsequent lessee for value in a number of specific situations which have been troublesome under prior law.
6. The position of an existing lessee who entrusts leased goods to its lessor is not distinguishable from the position of other entrusters. Thus, subsection (2) provides that the subsequent lessee in the ordinary course of business takes free of the existing lease contract between the lessor entrustee and the lessee entruster, if the lessor is a merchant dealing in goods of that kind. Further, the subsequent lessee obtains all of the lessor entrustee’s and the lessee entruster’s rights to the goods, but only to the extent of the leasehold interest transferred by the lessor entrustee. Thus, the lessor entrustee retains the residual interest in the goods. Section 2A-103(1)(q). However, entrustment by the existing lessee must have occurred before the interest of the subsequent lessee became enforceable against the lessor. Entrusting is defined in Section 2-403(3) and that definition applies here. Section 2A-103(3).
7. Subsection (3) states a rule with respect to a transfer of goods from a lessor to a subsequent lessee where the goods are subject to an existing lease and covered by a certificate of title. The subsequent lessee’s rights are no greater than those provided by this section and the applicable certificate of title statute, including any applicable case law construing such statute. Where the relationship between the certificate of title statute and Section 2-403, the statutory analogue to this section, has been construed by a court, that construction is incorporated here. Sections 2A-103(4) and 1-102(1) and (2). The better rule is that the certificate of title statutes are in harmony with Section 2-403 and thus would be in harmony with this section. E.g., Atwood Chevrolet-Olds v. Aberdeen Mun. School Dist., 431 So.2d 926, 928, (Miss.1983); Godfrey v. Gilsdorf, 476 P.2d 3, 6, 86 Nev. 714, 718 (1970); Martin v. Nager, 192 N.J.Super. 189, 197-98, 469 A.2d 519, 523 (Super. Ct. Ch. Div. 1983). Where the certificate of title statute is silent on this issue of transfer, this section will control.
Cross References:Sections 1-102, 1-103, 1-201(33), 2-403, 2A-103(1)(v), 2A-103(3), 2A-103(4), 2A-303 and 2A-305.
Definitional Cross References: “Agreed”. Section 1-201(3).
“Delivery”. Section 1-201(14).
“Entrusting”. Section 2-403(3).
“Good faith”. Sections 1-201(19) and 2-103(1)(b).
“Goods”. Section 2A-103(1)(h).
“Lease”. Section 2A-103(1)(j).
“Lease contract”. Section 2A-103(1)(l).
“Leasehold interest”. Section 2A-103(1)(m).
“Lessee”. Section 2A-103(1)(n).
“Lessee in the ordinary course of business”. Section 2A-103(1)(o).
“Lessor”. Section 2A-103(1)(p).
“Merchant”. Section 2-104(1).
“Purchase”. Section 2A-103(1)(v).
“Rights”. Section 1-201(36).
“Value”. Section 1-201(44).