Landlord v. Tenant: April 2019
Lawsuit to Stop Publication of City’s Worst Landlords List Dismissed
Two landlords sued New York City’s Public Advocate for damages and asked the court to stop the Advocate from publishing the city’s watchlist of 100 worst landlords. The city had published the watchlist in 2015 and 2016 and listed landlords’ names. Landlords claimed that the publication denied them due process and was defamatory.
The court ruled against landlords, who appealed and lost. Publication of the watchlist was within the Advocate’s powers to monitor the operation of public information and service complaint programs of city agencies. With regard to due process, landlords didn’t claim that the watchlist jeopardized their employment, career, prospects, or corporate existence. The watchlist also expressed the opinion of the Advocate, so landlords couldn’t claim defamation. Landlords also failed to demonstrate that publication of the watchlist was based solely on “disinterested malevolence.”
- Hakim v. James: Index No. 8374/8375N-160687/16, 2019 NY Slip Op 00990 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 2/7/19)
RENT STABILIZATION COVERAGE
Apartment Was Reregulated Due to J-51 Benefits
Tenant sued landlord, claiming rent overcharge and that his apartment was improperly deregulated. Landlord claimed that tenant was barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel because he didn’t participate in DHCR proceedings held 13 years earlier that resulted in deregulation of the apartment based on high-income deregulation. The court denied landlord’s request to dismiss the case but also denied tenant’s request for a declaration that the apartment was rent stabilized. Tenant and landlord both appealed.
The appeals court ruled for tenant. Tenant had presented claims in this new case not at issue in the prior DHCR proceeding. Tenant claimed that his apartment was subject to re-regulation when he signed a new market-rate lease at a time when the building was still receiving J-51 tax benefits. The court agreed and ruled that the apartment was rent stabilized and tenant was entitled to a rent-stabilized lease.
- Suarez v. Four Thirty Realty LLC: 92 N.Y.S.3d 649, 2019 NY Slip Op 01307 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 2/21/19)
Rent-Controlled Tenant Created a Nuisance
Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant for creating a nuisance. Landlord claimed that tenant’s conduct frightened other tenants. The trial court ruled for landlord, finding that tenant’s conduct constituted a nuisance. Landlord proved that tenant sent landlord more than 11,000 harassing emails, disrupted private birthday parties and dinners held by other tenants in the building’s garden, shut off air purifiers set up outside her apartment to limit noxious odors emanating from the unit, removed or taped building security cameras, maintained large boxes and more than 60 garbage bags in public hallways, threw objects outside her fourth-floor window, and repeatedly used profanity and racial slurs. Tenant also sent many harassing handwritten and signed notes to each tenant in the building.
- The Beuhler 1992 Family Trust v. Longo: Index No. L&T99395/17, 2019 NY Slip Op 29049 (Civ. Ct. Kings; 2/15/19)