Landlord v. Tenant: December 2017
Passing on Apartments
No Proof Roommate Was in Family-Type Relationship with Tenant
Landlord sued to evict apartment occupant after rent-controlled tenant died. Occupant claimed that he had lived with tenant for 43 years in a nontraditional, spousal, family relationship, and therefore had succession rights. The court ruled for landlord after a trial. Occupant failed to prove he had an emotional or financial commitment and interdependence with tenant. Occupant filed tax returns from his sister’s address in Queens, listed this address as his permanent home address on these returns, and maintained a post office box in Queens. Occupant claimed that tenant forbade him from receiving mail at the apartment. But occupant presented no driver’s license or passport listing the apartment as his address. There was no proof of an emotional relationship such as power of attorney or health care proxy, no photographs of tenant and occupant together, and no letters, cards, or notes to each other. Occupant acknowledged that they didn’t hold themselves out as a couple to friends and family. Tenant’s brother testified at trial that, to his knowledge, the two were nothing more than friends. There also was no proof of any financial interdependence. Occupant wasn’t named in tenant’s will, wasn’t involved in planning or paying for tenant’s funeral, and showed no proof that he paid for food for the two of them. Occupant also never visited tenant during tenant’s last months in a nursing home, and was reimbursed by tenant’s family when he bought pajamas for tenant.
- 66 W. 69th St. LLC v. Norton: Index No. L&T56519/15, NYLJ No. 1202799922354 (Civ. Ct. NY; 9/28/17)
Landlord Can Continue Collecting Cumulative 2.2 Percent Rent Surcharge After 421-a Benefits Expire
Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized tenant who refused to sign the renewal lease landlord offered because it contained a 2.2 percent surcharge applicable under Real Property Tax Law Section 421-a, and because the renewal lease contained a window cleaning charge. The court ruled for landlord. While landlord can’t add the 2.2 percent surcharge after the 421-a tax exemption 10-year period expires, Rent Stabilization Code Section 2522.5(e)(2) allows landlord to continue to collect the cumulative 2.2 percent increase charged prior to termination of the 421-a tax benefits. So landlord was entitled to add the 2.2 percent surcharge in the amount of $186 charged prior to termination of the tax benefit. Landlord also was entitled to list window cleaning as a separate charge in tenant’s renewal lease. It had done so in each renewal lease since 1979 and increases in that charge were based on rent guidelines. The court awarded landlord a judgment of possession but gave tenant 10 days to renew his lease in order to avoid eviction.
- Townhouse Company II, LLC v. Peters: Index No. L&T 68318/16 (Civ. Ct. NY; 10/6/17)
Landlord Can Evict Tenant for Objectionable Conduct
Landlord sued to evict tenant for committing a nuisance. The court ruled for landlord. Tenant appealed and lost. Landlord proved at trial that tenant engaged over a period of years in a pattern of objectionable conduct in the building that included repeated verbal abuse and threats against one of his neighbors and a physical assault of a postal worker. The evidence included surveillance video. Tenant’s conduct repeatedly compromised the safety of other tenants and their use and enjoyment of the premises.
- Goldman v. Flynn: 57 Misc.3d 140(A), 2017 NY Slip Op 51345(U) (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 10/11/17)