Landlord v. Tenant: August 2019
Landlord Held in Contempt with Daily Fines for Lead Paint Violations
Tenant sued landlord, seeking correction of Housing Maintenance Code violations. The court directed landlord to cure lead paint violations in the apartment, where tenant lived with a child under the age of 7. Tenant later asked the court to hold landlord in contempt because the condition hadn’t been cured. The court ruled for tenant. Landlord hadn’t completed abatement of the lead paint conditions in the time allowed to correct conditions. Landlord imposed a $250 daily fine, payable by landlord to tenant, for every day after June 7, 2019, that the violations remained uncorrected. The court also ruled that landlord could avoid the contempt and fines by correcting the violations by June 13.
- Castillo v. Banner Grp.: 63 Misc.3d 1235(A), 2019 NY Slip Op 50897(U) (Civ. Ct. NY; 6/6/19)
Landlord Proves Tenant Spent Most of Her Time at Bronx House
Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant from Manhattan apartment for nonprimary residence. The trial court ruled for landlord. Tenant appealed and lost. Evidence showed that the majority of significant activity in tenant’s life, including “daily living activities,” took place in the Bronx, where tenant and her husband had life estates in a home they bought in 1982. Tenant paid taxes and maintained a Con Edison account for the Bronx property; her four doctors, dentist, and pharmacy were located in the Bronx; all of her surgeries took place in the Bronx; and tenant conducted her shopping and bank withdrawals in the Bronx, and she made those transactions frequently. Given her age and physical condition, the trial court didn’t find credible tenant’s claim that she only visited the Bronx regularly to take care of her husband when he was ill.
- Galsack Realty Corp. v. Felipe: 63 Misc.3d 160(A), 2019 NY Slip Op 50886(U) (App. T. 1 Dept.; 6/5/19)
RENT REDUCTION DENIED
Isolated Stains on Common Area Carpeting Don’t Warrant Rent Reduction
Tenants complained of a reduction in building-wide services. The DRA ruled for tenants and reduced their rents. The DRA found that there were stains on the building’s common area carpeting. Landlord appealed and argued that the carpet stains were de minimis—that is, minor—and didn’t warrant a rent reduction. The DHCR ruled for landlord. The DHCR’s inspector had found three separate, isolated carpet stains in an eight-floor, 251-unit building. Rent Stabilization Code Section 2523.4(e) lists “isolated stains on otherwise clean carpets” as a de minimis condition that doesn’t warrant a rent reduction.
- Clinton Mgmt. LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. GP210031RO (5/2/19)
RENT REDUCTION ORDERED
Construction Next Door Reduced Light and Air in Units
Five rent-stabilized tenants complained of a reduction in services in their apartments due to decreased light and air caused by construction of a building next door. The DRA ruled for tenants and reduced their rents. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord pointed out that it didn’t own the next-door property. Landlord also argued that tenants’ leases held landlord harmless from permanent interference with light or air due to construction on property not owned by landlord. But the DHCR stated that it wasn’t a party to tenants’ leases, and that tenants may not waive a benefit they are entitled to under the rent laws. The DHCR also disregarded a July 11, 2000, opinion letter that it had issued stating that, in the DHCR’s opinion, reduction of light or air due to construction of additional stories on an adjacent building wasn’t a decrease in service. The DHCR also noted that it had issued prior orders in other, unrelated cases, finding reduced services due to construction of other buildings.
- Surat Realty: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket Nos. GQ210021RO – GQ210025RO (5/16/19)