Landlord v. Tenant: August 2022
ERAP Stay Vacated by Court Where Occupant Was Former Super Who Never Paid Rent
Landlord sued to evict its former building superintendent after his employment was terminated in October 2021. The super had lived in one of landlord’s apartments since 2017 in connection with his employment. After the case was started, the super filed a Hardship Declaration, which stayed the proceeding until Jan. 15, 2022. In April 2022, when landlord sought to have the case placed back on the court’s calendar, the super filed an ERAP application, which stayed the proceeding. Landlord asked the court to vacate the ERAP stay because the super wasn’t a tenant and had no obligation to pay rent.
The court ruled for landlord and vacated the stay. It was undisputed that the super never paid rent for the apartment.
- Valsac 908 LLC v. Crespo: Index No. 307057/2021, 2022 NY Slip Op 50484(U)(Civ. Ct. NY; 6/10/22)
RENT STABILIZATION COVERAGE
Newly Created Apartment Was Exempt from Rent Stabilization
Tenant complained to the DHCR of rent overcharge and improper apartment deregulation. Landlord pointed out that tenant’s apartment was created in 2002, and showed valid 1999 DOB permits. The first tenant of that apartment paid $2,500 per month in rent, which was above the deregulation threshold then in place. Landlord also showed that the rent was $2,595 in 2013; $2,765 in 2015; and $2,915 in 2017. So landlord never registered the unit with the DHCR as rent stabilized. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding that the newly created apartment was legally and permanently exempted from rent stabilization in 2002.
Tenant appealed and lost. Tenant argued that landlord didn’t get a proper certificate of occupancy (C of O) when it created the apartment and therefore was precluded from collecting rent because an illegally altered apartment can’t be occupied without a C of O. Tenant also said that landlord didn’t submit documentation that any renovations were made or that there was any DOB approval of renovations. Tenant further claimed that landlord may have engaged in a fraudulent scheme to deregulate the apartment.
The DHCR disagreed, finding that landlord was entitled to collect a first rent for the newly created apartment in 2002. Landlord had submitted proof that renovations creating the new unit were completed. And an apartment that was properly deregulated prior to June 14, 2019, remains deregulated. Whether landlord required a C of O, or whether there were other DOB issues, didn’t affect the correctness of the finding by the DHCR that landlord created a new apartment.
- Miller: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. KO410008RT (6/2/22)
Landlord Can Change Laundry Room Service, with Rent Reduction
Landlord asked the DHCR for permission to modify required services in a condo building with some rent-stabilized units, by eliminating the small laundry rooms on each floor and replacing them with one central laundry room in the basement that would contain six new washers and dryers. Currently, there were 25 small laundry rooms in the building, each with one washer and dryer. Tenants objected to the change in service. All of the 27 tenants were over the age of 65 and, among other things, complained of the long trek to the basement to get to the proposed central laundry room. The DRA ruled for landlord, without directing any permanent rent reduction.
Tenants appealed and won, in part. Moving the building’s laundry room service to the distant basement location was in fact a decrease in building services. So tenants were entitled to a permanent rent reduction of $30 per month as a condition of the service modification.
- Various Tenants of 235 West 75th Street: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. GP410005RT (6/23/22)