Landlord v. Tenant
Landlord's Negligence: Landlord Not Responsible for Attack on Tenant's Boyfriend
Tenant's boyfriend sued landlord and the contractor who maintained the building's intercom system for negligence after he was attacked in tenant's apartment by tenant's two adult sons. One son lived in the apartment with tenant. The other had moved out in 2003 when NYCHA permanently barred him from entering the development because he had shot someone in a neighboring NYCHA building. Tenant then had to agree not to let that son live in or visit her apartment. At the time of the attack, tenant was on probation because she had allowed that son to visit his child, who lived with tenant.
The boyfriend claimed that tenant's son had been allowed into the building on many occasions, but he didn't report this to NYCHA. The boyfriend claimed that the intercom system, front-door lock, and building security were inadequate because they were frequently broken. This allowed the excluded son to roam freely through the building. Landlord and the contractor asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial. The court ruled against them.
Landlord and the contractor appealed and won. The appeals court found that the intercom contractor had no duty to protect the boyfriend from harm. And even if landlord was negligent in failing to maintain the front-door lock, this wasn't the cause of the boyfriend's injuries. The boyfriend didn't know how the excluded son entered the building or the apartment. There was no proof of forcible entry. Even if the son got into the building because of the inoperative front-door lock, he could have gotten into the apartment only if a family member let him in, or the door was unlocked, or someone had given him a key. Landlord wasn't responsible.
- Brathwaite v. NYCHA: 2012 NY Slip Op 01422, 2012 WL 579766 (App. Div. 2 Dept.; 2/21/12)
Required Services: DHCR Rejects Landlord's Application to Modify Intercom Service
Landlord applied to the DHCR for permission to modify services after substituting a new telephone access system for the old bell/buzzer intercom system. The DRA ruled against landlord based on tenant complaints. Tenants claimed that the new intercom system knocked them off the Internet when using home computers, disconnected calls on hold when they answered the bell, worked sporadically only on the side door and not on the front door, that voices couldn't be heard, and that they couldn't buzz in their guests.
Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord claimed that only a few tenants complained and that any technological issues were unrelated to the intercom. The DHCR rejected these arguments. DHCR policy required a number of conditions be met for approval of telephone-based intercom service given changing technology. These were: Intercom service must be supplied to every apartment; tenants must continue to have a choice of telecommunications company that provided service; each apartment must have touch-tone service and a landline phone; rents would be permanently reduced by $15 per month to offset the cost of basic telephone service; and tenants without landlines must be compensated by landlord if the service required any new phone installation costs. Landlord had failed to address tenant complaints about problems with the new system.
- 260 Convent Ave.: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. VG430024RO (1/11/12)