Landlord v. Tenant: January 2013
DOB Violations: Landlord Exempt from Filing Local Law 11 Report
DOB issued a violation notice to landlord for failing to file an amended report to confirm the correction of unsafe building facade conditions described in the initial report he filed under Local Law 11 of 1998. Landlord claimed that because the building was no more than six stories in height, it wasn't subject to these reporting requirements. The building had a cellar and five stories and was registered with HPD as six stories. The ALJ ruled for landlord and dismissed the violation. DOB appealed and lost. Building Code Section 28-302.1 requires owners of buildings greater than six stories to maintain exterior building walls in a safe condition and to have a design professional periodically file a report certifying to DOB that the walls either were safe, unsafe, or safe with a repair and maintenance program. After notifying DOB of an unsafe condition, the owner must immediately make repairs and file an amended report with DOB. DOB argued that landlord had filed the initial report of unsafe conditions and therefore was required to file the amended report. But since landlord wasn't required by law to file any report, it didn't matter that an initial report was filed.
- Sherhan: ECB App. No. 1200915 (11/28/12)
DOS Violations: Landlord Didn't Perform Regular Daily Cleaning
DOS issued a violation notice to landlord for having a dirty area in front of his building. The DOS inspector reported seeing a large accumulation of matted cigarette packs, cups, napkins, and other paper in the driveway. Landlord claimed that he and his wife cleaned in front of the building regularly, but not every day, and that their tenant was elderly. They claimed that they didn't cause the garbage cited in the violation and didn't see it until after they had raked leaves that had blown into the driveway. The ALJ ruled against landlord and fined him $100.
Landlord appealed and lost. It was no defense that landlord wasn't the source of the garbage found at the scene. Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises free of debris, regardless of the cause. Landlord also didn't demonstrate that reasonable efforts were made to keep the area clean. He admitted that daily cleaning wasn't performed. To prove reasonable efforts were made requires a showing that efforts are made on a regular daily basis.
- Brenner: ECB App. No. 1200828 (11/29/12)
Eviction: Tenant Can't Vacate Settlement Agreement
Landlord brought both a holdover for refusal to give access for repairs and a nonpayment proceeding against elderly rent-controlled tenant in housing court. After a joint trial of the two cases began, landlord and tenant signed a settlement agreement in court in May 2011. Tenant was assisted in court by a court-appointed guardian ad litem (GAL), who also signed the settlement agreement. Tenant agreed to move out in four months, in exchange for a complete waiver of back rent totaling $24,000 owed since October 2010. Tenant later asked the court to discharge the GAL and vacate the settlement agreement. The GAL in turn asked the court to extend tenant's time to move out of the apartment.
The court ruled against tenant. The GAL had met with tenant extensively and agreed to the settlement based on a number of factors, including tenant's wish to move to senior housing. There was no valid basis for removal of the GAL, and it wouldn't promote tenant's interests. Tenant also had no valid defense, since she admitted the rent arrears were owed and that she had refused access. The GAL's request to extend tenant's time to relocate was extended through Dec. 31, 2012.
- East 10th Street LLC v. Garcia: 37 Misc.3d 1224(A), 2012 NY Slip Op 52152(U) (11/20/12)
Fire Department Violations: Fire Director Renewed Certificate of Fitness on Time
The Fire Department issued a violation notice to landlord for failing to renew its certificate of fitness of the building's fire safety director. At a hearing, landlord's fire safety director stated that he completed a course, passed a test, and submitted his renewal application to the Fire Department. Fire Department computer records indicated that he was in good standing, but he had not yet received a certificate. The ALJ ruled against landlord and fined it $750. Landlord appealed and won. Additional documents submitted on appeal showed that landlord's Fire Director had been in good standing for 25 years, had filed his renewal application with the Fire Department on Dec. 23, 2011, but that the Department didn't issue the certificate of fitness to him until August 2012. Still, the certificate of fitness was renewed as of June 25, 2012, the date of the violation. The fine was revoked.
- 160 Beach Realty Corp.: ECB App. No. 1200929 (11/29/12)
Landlord’s Negligence: Tenant Doesn’t Prove Snow Accumulation in Slip-and-Fall Case
Tenant sued NYCHA after she slipped and fell when she got out of a taxi and stepped onto a curb in front of landlord's building. Tenant claimed that NYCHA was negligent in failing to properly remove snow from the sidewalk. The court ruled for NYCHA and dismissed the case. There was no independent admissible proof contradicting NYCHA's certified report from an independent meteorologist, which stated that there was no accumulated snow near the accident location on the date in question. Tenant's photographs of the scene were taken days after the accident, and it had snowed during that time.
- Perez v. NYCHA: Index No. 103275/09, NYLJ, 11/2/12, p. 15, col. 1