Landlord v. Tenant: December 2013
DOB Violations: Landlord Didn't Add Handicap Ramp During Alterations
DOB issued a violation notice to landlord for failing to provide building access to people with disabilities. The violation stated that there was no ramp at the front entrance of the building. Landlord claimed that no ramp was needed because no handicapped people lived in the building. DOB argued that any major alteration of the building after 1987 required front entrance handicap accessibility. Landlord had altered the building between 2001 and 2004. The ALJ ruled against landlord and fined him $800.
Landlord appealed and lost. Building Code Section 27-123.1 required landlord to provide handicapped accessibility to the front entrance of the building if an alteration changed the occupancy classification of the building or the cost of the alteration was more than 50 percent of the replacement cost of the building. Landlord claimed on appeal that its alterations didn't reach these levels, but it submitted no proof. Without a waiver from DOB, landlord was required to provide access to the building for the handicapped.
- Shadman Realty LLC: ECB App. No. 1200665 (8/29/13)
Landlord's Negligence: Super Improperly Installed A/C in Tenant's Apartment
Landlord sued tenant for damages of $6,000 and one month's unpaid rent after an air conditioner fell from tenant's fifth-floor apartment window and through a lower-floor skylight. The court ruled for landlord in part, after trial. Tenant purchased two air conditioners and planned to have them installed by an outside contractor. But the building super told tenant he was the only one authorized to install the air conditioners. The super performed the installation, attaching three screws to a bar attached to the top of the unit. Later one night, when tenant attempted to remove one of the units from the window, it slipped out of her hands and fell onto the skylight of a commercial unit in the building.
The court found that tenant was 25 percent responsible and therefore owed landlord $1,500. The unit had been improperly installed by the super, who was 75 percent responsible. The super failed to secure the unit by braces or brackets or attaching it in any manner to the building or the window. Landlord claimed that it hadn't authorized the super to do the installation, but no one advised tenant of this.
- COD, LLC v. Herron: Index No. 019087/12, NYLJ No. 1202624453790 (Civ. Ct. Bronx; 10/17/13)
Pets: Depressed Tenant Can't Keep Dog
Landlord sued to evict tenant for keeping a dog in violation of her lease. The court delayed ruling in the case because HUD requested a stay while it considered tenant's discrimination complaint. Tenant claimed that the dog was a service dog that assisted her with a mental or emotional disability. After the court delayed the case for three months, it refused to delay further after a second request from HUD. There was no requirement to delay the case and no apparent merit to tenant's claim. Tenant didn't assert discrimination as a defense in the eviction case. Her doctor stated in a letter to HUD that tenant had suffered from depression at times, had become depressed as a result of the eviction proceeding, was helped by but hadn't obtained the dog due to a disability, and that the doctor was unwilling to testify on tenant's behalf. Tenant had found the stray dog less than 90 days before landlord started the eviction proceeding. The court ruled for landlord, but stayed eviction for 10 days to allow tenant time to get rid of the dog in order to avoid eviction.
- East River Housing Corp. v. Aaron: Index No. 87932/2012, NYLJ No. 1202624958690 (Civ. Ct. NY; 10/17/13)