Landlord v. Tenant
Eviction: Landlord Didn't Prove Ongoing Illegal Activity in Apartment
Landlord sued to evict tenant after serving a 10-day termination notice based on illegal use of the apartment. Landlord claimed that the District Attorney directed it to start the eviction action against tenant. Landlord proved that tenant was arrested for possession of controlled substances. But the majority of illegal substances were found in the bedroom of tenant's son. Only a container of painkillers was found in tenant's room. Tenant claimed that she was unaware that her son was involved in illegal drug activity and that the painkillers were prescribed for her after a car accident.
The court ruled for tenant and dismissed the case. Landlord didn't claim, and didn't prove, that tenant was involved in or knew about her son's activities. There was no police prosecution against tenant herself. Personal use of a controlled substance wasn't grounds to evict a rent-stabilized tenant.
Central Astoria v. Klisures: Index No. 63327/2011, NYLJ No. 1202558913064 (Civ. Ct. Queens; 5/29/12)
Passing on Apartments: Daughter Gets Rent-Controlled Apartment
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. She claimed that she had lived in the apartment since 1970 and was rent controlled. New landlord claimed that the apartment was registered as owner/employee occupied and demanded $1,350 per month as rent. Tenant had paid $500 per month. Landlord claimed that tenant's brother had moved into the apartment under a 1970 lease, but had bought the building in 1980. Tenant's brother then moved into another apartment in the building, while his mother and tenant remained in the subject apartment. Tenant's brother registered the apartment as owner-occupied, and tenant remained in the apartment after her mother died, refusing to pay market rent.
The DRA ruled for tenant, finding that she had lived in the apartment since 1970, that her brother moved to another apartment in the building before he bought the building in 1986, and that tenant continued to live in the apartment with her mother after her brother transferred to the other apartment. The DRA set the maximum collectible rent at $500 per month based on the equities involved. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord claimed that tenant's apartment was owner-occupancy decontrolled. But there was no proof that tenant's brother remained in the apartment after he bought the building and owner-occupancy decontrol was permitted for only one apartment in a building. Tenant proved that she lived with her mother in the apartment for many years before the mother died in 1992. Tenant had remained in the apartment since that time with no challenge to her tenancy until new landlord bought the building in 2005.
Chow: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. VE220011RO (5/22/12)
Rent Stabilization Coverage: Tenant's Default in Deregulation Case Excused
Landlord applied for high-rent/high-income deregulation of tenant's rent-stabilized apartment in 2010. The DRA ruled for landlord based on tenant's failure to answer its notice of tenant's application. Tenant appealed. She claimed that she failed to respond due to severe dementia and memory impairment. She stated that she had Alzheimer's disease and that this severely impeded her ability to handle her affairs and respond to correspondence and inquiries. She submitted letters from her doctor and other health care providers supporting her claim. The DHCR reopened the case and sent it back to the DRA for further consideration. Tenant presented an adequate explanation for her failure to answer the application. Tenant had answered three prior luxury deregulation applications, so should have understood the effect of not answering if she had been able to respond. Tenant also had completed and returned the Income Certification Form that preceded landlord's 2010 application. Tenant showed good cause for her default.
Freid: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. ZI410045RT (5/24/12)
Security Deposits: Tenant Who Overcharged Roommate Disputes Security Deposit Refund
Former roommate complained of a rent overcharge by rent-stabilized tenant. The DRA ruled for roommate and ordered tenant to refund the overcharge plus roommate's full security deposit. Roommate had claimed that tenant refunded only a portion of the security deposit. Tenant appealed that portion of the DRA's order directing the security deposit refund. The DHCR ruled for tenant. Tenant claimed that roommate defaulted on her written agreement to vacate the apartment before the expiration of roommate's “lease” term. Tenant also claimed that the roommate caused damage to her property. Since the roommate's compliance with her rental agreement was in dispute, any question concerning the amount of security deposit refund due should be addressed in court. Tenant otherwise must refund $3,900 in rent overcharges to the former roommate.
Peguero: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. ZC110032RO (4/19/12)