Landlord v. Tenant: October 2014
Rent Stabilization: Building Substantially Rehabbed Was Exempt from Stabilization
Landlord sued to evict an unregulated tenant. Tenant claimed that he was subject to rent stabilization. The trial court ruled for landlord. Tenant appealed and lost. Landlord showed that prior landlord substantially rehabilitated the building after Jan. 1, 1974, spending over $319,000 to convert the class "B" SRO building into a class "A" multiple dwelling. Prior landlord received J-51 tax abatement benefits for the work, but tenant moved into the building long after the J-51 benefits had expired. The trial court properly determined that the building wasn't subject to rent stabilization and that the proceeding wasn't a pretext for discrimination.
- Brownstone Partners, LP v. Slupinski: 44 Misc.3d 134(A), 2014 Y Slip Op 51199(U) (App. T. 1 Dept.; 8/8/14)
Rent Stabilization: Building Exempt Due to Substantial Rehab
Landlord asked the DHCR to exempt its building from rent stabilization due to substantial rehabilitation. The DRA ruled for landlord. Tenant, who moved into the building in 2007, appealed and lost. Landlord bought the building in 1981 when it was a seven-room SRO with a ground-floor store. In 1984, the building was vacant and landlord converted the building to a five-unit, class A multiple dwelling. Landlord obtained a new Certificate of Occupancy, as well as J-51 benefits, which expired on June 30, 2003. There is no time limit for filing an application for exemption based on substantial rehabilitation. The fact that the building was vacant when rehabbed was proof that the building was in substandard condition. Landlord also submitted documentation showing that landlord had replaced at least 75 percent of the building's 14 systems. The building was gut-renovated. HPD building violations, issued over 20 years after the substantial rehabilitation, also were not sufficient to block the building's deregulation. There was no proof of fraud, contrary to tenant's claim.
- St. Pierre: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. AO410028RT (7/31/14)
Warranty of Habitability: Tenant's Agreement to Share Cost of Bedbug Extermination Void
Landlord sued tenant, claiming that tenant had agreed to split the cost of bedbug extermination and related expenses incurred by landlord in connection with tenant's apartment. The court granted tenant's request to dismiss the case. Landlord appealed and lost. While an exchange of emails may create a binding agreement, tenant's alleged agreement in this case to split the extermination costs created no enforceable contractual rights. Landlord had a statutory obligation to remedy a rent-impairing condition. Landlord's attempt to make tenant pay for bedbug extermination was void as an attempt to circumvent the warranty of habitability.
- Bldg Management Co., Inc. v. Halabi: 44 Misc.3d 134(A), 2014 NY Slip Op 51186(U) (App. T. 1 Dept.; 8/5/14)