Landlord v. Tenant: February 2017
Landlord Sufficiently Identified Apartment Occupant in Court Papers
Landlord sued to evict apartment occupants, claiming that they were licensees or squatters. One of the occupants asked the court to dismiss the case. He claimed that landlord failed to name a necessary party because the court papers called him “Manuel Lora Davis” when his name actually was “Sully Manuel Lora.” Occupant also claimed that he wasn’t personally served with the court papers. Landlord argued that it had diligently searched for the occupant’s name before describing him in the court papers as it did. The court ruled against occupant. There was a 2/3 to 3/4 overlap in the name used in the court caption and occupant’s name. Landlord also named “John Doe” at the apartment address as a respondent. This adequately covered occupant’s name, which could be amended in the court papers. Also, personal delivery of the court papers wasn’t required. Landlord delivered the papers by conspicuous place service, as permitted by Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 735(1).
- 974 Anderson LLC v. Davis: Index No. 10721/2016, NYLJ No. 1202775507043 (Civ. Ct. Bronx; 12/14/16; Lutwak, J)
Landlord Can’t Collect Additional Rent from Tenant After Tenant Moved Out
Former tenant sued landlord in small claims court, seeking recovery of her security deposit. Landlord counterclaimed for rent due under the lease after landlord terminated the lease and before a new tenant moved in. The court ruled for tenant, awarded her $4,060, and dismissed landlord’s counterclaim. Landlord appealed and lost. Substantial justice was done between the parties. After landlord sent tenant a lease termination notice, but before tenant moved out, landlord accepted the following month’s rent from tenant. This vitiated the termination notice. Therefore, landlord can’t collect additional rent from tenant under the lease’s cancellation clause.
- Knowles v. North Clinton Associates: 54 Misc.3d 127(A), 2016 NY Slip Op 51790(U) (App. T. 2 Dept.; 12/7/16)
RENT STABILIZATION COVERAGE
Court Finds Apartment Was Vacancy Deregulated, Despite Altman Decision
Landlord sued to evict tenant, claiming that tenant was unregulated. Tenant argued that he was rent stabilized. The court ruled for tenant and dismissed the case because an appellate court in the case of Altman v. 285 W. Fourth, LLC had ruled that the rent of a prior vacating tenant must be over the high-rent vacancy decontrol threshold before an apartment is subject to deregulation. Landlord appealed and won. Landlord proved that the prior rent-stabilized tenant’s last rent was $1,836.20 when he moved out. When a 20 percent vacancy increase was added to new tenant’s rent, this brought the rent over the $2,000 high-rent deregulation threshold in effect at that time, and therefore the apartment became deregulated. The court refused to follow the higher court’s ruling in Altman, finding that, “we do not interpret the contents of a single sentence in the decision in Altman v. 285 W Fourth, LLC . . . so broadly as to effectuate a sea change in nearly two decades of settled statutory and decisional law.”
- 233 East 5th Street LLC v. Smith: 2016 NY Slip Op 26404 (App. T. 1 Dept.; 12/8/16)