Landlord v. Tenant: November 2019
Landlord Must Accept Section 8 Vouchers
The NY Attorney General sued landlord and sought an injunction barring landlord from not accepting federal housing subsidized vouchers as a form of rent. The AG claimed that landlord’s refusal to accept the vouchers violated the town of West Seneca’s fair housing code, which prohibited discrimination based on income source. The court granted landlord’s request to dismiss the case and vacated the injunction.
The AG appealed and won. The appeals court found that rent subsidy vouchers were a source of income under the town’s fair housing code prohibiting discrimination. So landlord was required to accept the vouchers. Recent amendments to the State Human Rights Law prohibited discrimination based on “lawful source of income.” That law specifically includes Section 8 vouchers as a lawful source of income. The state law also didn’t preempt the local law because the State Human Rights Law wasn’t intended to preempt the field of antidiscrimination legislation.
- People v. Ivybrooke Equity Enterprises, LLC: Index No. 594/18-01433, 2019 NY Slip Op 06299 (App. Div. 4 Dept.; 8/22/19)
Tenant’s Son Can’t Prove Unauthorized Dog Was Emotional Support Animal
Landlord sued to evict tenant for keeping a dog in violation of a no-pets clause in her lease. Tenant didn’t appear in court, but her adult son appeared. He lived with tenant and claimed that he needed the dog as an emotional support animal. The trial court ruled for landlord. Tenant’s son failed to prove that the dog helped him with his symptoms of depression and kidney disease. He also failed to present any medical or psychological evidence to demonstrate that the dog was actually needed in order for him to enjoy the apartment. He didn’t call any professional witness from Westchester County Jewish Services, which he claimed had advised him to get the dog, or anywhere else. His registration of the dog as a support animal with USAServiceDogRegistration could be completed by anyone after payment of a fee. No case law or statute required the court to accept registration with this entity as proof that the dog was an emotional support animal. The court gave tenant 30 days to cure in order to avoid eviction.
- Westchester Plaza Holdings LLC v. Sherwood: 64 Misc.3d 1230(A), 2019 NY Slip Op 51378(U) (City Ct. Mt. Vernon; 8/23/19)
Overcharge Refunds to Be Recalculated Based on Enactment of HSTPA
Tenants sued landlord, seeking a declaration that their apartments were rent stabilized. The court previously ruled for tenants on the question of liability for rent overcharges but found that document production was needed to determine the legal regulated rents. The court also ruled that the default formula found in Rent Stabilization Code Section 2526.1(g)(1) should be applied to calculate the rent overcharges. The court now ruled that the amounts due to tenants must be amended to cover overcharge periods of six years instead of four years due to the recently enacted Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act.
- Arnold v. 406 Bleecker St. LLC: 2019 NY Slip Op 32683, NYLJ No. 1566799110 (Sup. Ct. NY; 8/19/19)