Landlord v. Tenant: March 2019
Tenants’ Harassment Claim Dismissed
Tenants brought an HP proceeding against landlord, seeking correction of building violations and also claiming harassment by landlord. Landlord and tenants signed a consent order to correct violations, and a trial was set to examine the harassment claim. Landlord then asked the court to dismiss the harassment claim without a trial and argued that tenant’s court papers contained no statement of facts to support the harassment claim. Landlord therefore couldn’t defend itself against these claims. Tenants objected to landlord’s request since it was made on the eve of trial. But the court ruled for landlord and dismissed the harassment claim without prejudice. Statements made in court pleadings must be factual in order to give the other side notice of the claim and the opportunity to prepare a defense.
- Acosta v. 202 South 2nd Street LLC: 62 Misc.3d 1209(A), 2019 NY Slip Op 50040(U) (Civ. Ct. Kings; 1/9/19)
MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
MCI Kitchen Upgrades Didn’t Reduce Apartment Sizes
Landlord applied for MCI rent hikes based on repiping, including gas risers, as well as kitchen and bathroom upgrades. The DRA ruled for landlord. Tenants appealed and lost. They claimed that the work was defective and unworkmanlike, that the MCIs weren’t properly documented, and that two investigatory proceedings by the DHCR concerning other buildings should prohibit the MCI increases. Some tenant complaints concerned conditions unrelated to the MCI work or dissatisfaction with the design of the installed fixtures. Neither of these claims was a basis to deny the MCI increases, and DHCR inspection found no proof that the sizes of the kitchens were reduced as a result of the upgrades. Tenants also didn’t complain about the repiping before the DRA. Investigatory proceedings pertaining to other buildings under different ownership were totally unrelated to the MCIs and irrelevant.
- The Legal Aid Society & Legal Services NYC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. GM610008RT (12/27/18)
No Rent Overcharge Found Under Four-Year Rule
Tenant sued landlord for rent overcharge based on landlord’s failure to charge rent-stabilized rents while receiving J-51 tax benefits. The court granted landlord’s request to dismiss the case without a trial. Tenant appealed and lost. Tenant claimed that the court should look back more than four years at the apartment’s rent history. But there was no basis to do so since there was no fraud or other circumstances warranting review of rent history going back more than four years. Tenant had received a rent-stabilized lease, and landlord registered the rent with the DHCR more than four years before any rent overcharge complaint was filed.
- Reich v. Belnord Partners, LLC: 2019 NY Slip Op 00220 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 1/15/19; Renwick, JP, Gische, Kahn, Kern, Moulton, JJ)