Landlord v. Tenant: January 2023
ERAP Stay Vacated Because Co-Tenant Already Applied for and Was Denied ERAP Assistance
Landlord sued to evict tenant for nonpayment of rent. Tenant filed an ERAP application, which automatically stayed the eviction proceeding. Landlord then asked the court to vacate the ERAP stay, pointing out that a co-tenant already had applied for ERAP and that prior application was denied by the NY State OTDA.
The court ruled for landlord, noting that, since there had already been at least one determination of eligibility for the "household," the unit that the statute defines as the applicant for ERAP benefits, then there had been a determination of eligibility and the event that effectuated a vacatur of the stay had already occurred. So, any stay resulting from ERAP was no longer in effect.
- Shemiran Co. DE LLC v. Rosenberg: Index No. 67375/2019 (Civ. Ct. NY; 12/5/22)
Court Vacates ERAP Stay Where Landlord Waived Rent Arrears and Tenant Lived Elsewhere
Landlord sued to evict month-to-month tenant. Tenant answered and applied for ERAP relief, which stayed the holdover proceeding. After waiting nine months without resolution of the ERAP application, landlord asked the court to vacate the ERAP stay. Landlord argued that he sought only possession and wouldn't accept any ERAP payment that required him to let tenant remain in the apartment.
The court ruled for landlord, finding that payment of back rent wouldn't resolve the matter and that equities strongly favored landlord. Landlord had waived his right to rent arrears, and tenant had lived elsewhere for several months.
- Sealy v. Bror: Index No. 896-21, 77 Misc.3d 1202(A), 2022 NY Slip Op 51099 (City Ct. Mt Vernon; 11/10/22)
RENT INCREASE DENIED
Appeals Court Rejects Landlord Challenge to HSTPA Amendments Limiting IAI Rent Increases
Landlord sued the DHCR, claiming that the agency's post-HSTPA policies and procedures concerning individual apartment improvement (IAI) rent increases were improper. After HSTPA was enacted, landlords were required to file a Notification Form, related before-and-after photographs, and a tenant's informed consent form, for work done in occupied apartments. Landlord had bought the building in 2014, hired a contractor, and filed permits with DOB in early 2019 to perform building interior renovations.
The court granted the DHCR's request to dismiss the case, finding that landlord didn't have a vested interest in the pre-HSTPA IAI rent increase formula, in effect until June 14, 2019, and it wouldn't suffer a "hardship" from the court's refusal to entertain its challenge to Rent Stabilization Law §26-511(c)(13). The court found that the case wasn't ripe and dismissed landlord's claim that the new policies were unconstitutional.
Landlord appealed and lost. The appeals court agreed with the lower court that landlord lacked vested rights in the pre-HSTPA rent laws governing IAIs because it had begun apartment renovation work two weeks before the effective date of the HSTPA amendments that substantially restricted IAI rent increases. The appeals court also found that the landlord's IAI rent increase claims weren't ripe since they were fact-based claims without a determination of what IAI work actually was done or qualified for a rent increase. The record also didn't establish that landlord had an actual, concrete injury as a result of the enactment of the HSTPA amendments or that a hardship would result if the court denied landlord's claim. The appeals court also denied landlord's claim that the HSTPA amendments were unconstitutional since they would deprive landlord of an economic benefit.
- 300 Wadsworth LLC v. DHCR: 2022 NY Slip Op 06311 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 11/10/22)