Court Ultimately Rules Against 'Sushi Defense' Tenant
An East Village tenant who used an unorthodox “sushi defense” to keep her rent-stabilized studio apartment has recently lost her last court battle to keep her discounted pad. The owner had tried since 2007 to evict the tenant based on nonprimary residence. As evidence, the owner cited the fact that the electric bills for the apartment were negligible, but the tenant claimed that was because she ate a lot of take out and made a lot of sushi. This was dubbed "the sushi defense," and the appellate court bought it, voting 3-2 in the tenant's favor.
But in October, the Court of Appeals ruled that the middle court used the wrong standard for evaluating the case and bounced the matter back. The Appellate Division has now sided with the owner. The tenant now will have to give up her $992 per-month studio apartment, which she has "lived in" since 1980.