Landlord v. Tenant: October 2019
Rent-Stabilized Tenant Can’t Add Son to Parking Space Lease
Rent-stabilized tenant filed a lease violation complaint. Tenant claimed that landlord refused to offer a renewal lease for parking spaces on the same terms and conditions as contained in the expiring parking space leases. Tenant also claimed her son should be added to the parking space leases. The DRA ruled for tenant, finding that landlord never answered the complaint. Landlord appealed and won, in part. Landlord showed by mailing receipts that it had, in fact, answered the complaint. The DRA properly directed landlord to renew tenant’s parking space lease on the same terms and conditions as her prior lease. But tenant’s son wasn’t a tenant. As an occupant of tenant’s apartment, he wasn’t entitled to have his name added to the parking space lease.
- The Park Central I, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. GW610030RO (6/21/19)
Court Permits Discovery of Rent History Records Going Back 23 Years
Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized tenant for nonpayment of rent. Tenant claimed rent overcharge and asked the court for permission to conduct pretrial questioning. The court ruled for tenant. Tenant, after obtaining an attorney, could amend her answer to claim rent overcharge, since an overcharge claim may be filed at any time and the claim didn’t surprise or prejudice landlord. Tenant also showed the need for pretrial questioning and document discovery. There was an unexplained 43 percent increase in the apartment rent between the 1996 and 1997 DHCR rent registrations. This resulted in an unreliable registration. Although landlord objected to the production of rent history information going back 23 years, the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 amended the Rent Stabilization Law to now permit review of rent history documentation going back more than the six-year time limit for rent overcharge claims.
- 699 Venture Corp. v. Zuniga: Index No. 19533/2019, 2019 NY Slip Op 29200 (Civ. Ct. Bronx; 7/1/19)
New Landlord Must Pay Triple Damages for Prior Landlord’s Willful Overcharge
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund $29,190, including triple damages and reflecting a deduction based on landlord’s prior refund to tenant. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord argued that shortly after he received tenant’s complaint, he reduced her rent. He had just bought the building from prior landlord and hadn’t willfully overcharged tenant. But prior landlord’s willfulness is imputed to successor landlords in terms of responsibility for overcharges and penalties. A new landlord “steps into the shoes” of prior landlord. It didn’t matter whose fault the overcharge was.
- Li: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. GT110017RO (6/5/19)