Landlord v. Tenant: September 2013
DOB Violations: Landlord Can't Do Decorative Repairs While Full Stop-Work Order in Effect
DOB issued a violation notice to landlord for continuing work despite the issuance of a stop-work order (SWO). The notice described the violation as "work in progress at front; enlargement of dwelling contrary to stop work order," dated Sept. 6, 2012. A prior violation cited landlord for work without a permit based on the addition of an extension to the front of the building at the second floor. The prior violation notice also contained a full SWO dated Aug. 9, 2012, which stated "Stop all work. Make site safe. Obtain permit or restore to prior legal condition." Landlord claimed that no work was proceeding on the second floor for which the SWO was issued, but only on the first floor, to tile a bathroom. DOB argued that because the SWO was a full SWO and not merely a partial one, all work at the building was barred except work that would make the building safe. The ALJ ruled for landlord and dismissed the violation, finding that the work done at the time of the notice wasn't covered by the SWO.
DOB appealed and won. Reading Code Sections 28-208.2.1 and 28-207.2.2 together, no work may be done at a building while a full SWO is in effect. Landlord was fined $4,800.
- Bibi: ECB App. No. 1300177 (6/27/13)
Fire Department Violations: Landlord Didn't Properly Maintain and Test Sprinkler System
The Fire Department issued a violation notice to landlord after finding that there was no certificate of fitness (CF) holder for maintaining the sprinkler system at landlord's building, and no records showing that the sprinkler system was inspected, tested, and maintained in compliance with Fire Department regulations. Landlord claimed that he was unaware of these requirements for the sprinkler system because no one had asked for these records in over 30 years. He also said he was in the process of correcting the violation, having taken the exam for CF holder. The ALJ ruled against landlord and fined him $1,450 because ignorance of the law was no defense to the violation.
Landlord appealed and lost. The Fire Department wasn't required to inform landlord of Fire Code or rule requirements. Any failure by the Fire Department to enforce its rules in the past was no excuse. Landlord also failed to correct the violation by the time of the hearing before the ALJ although there was sufficient time to do so.
- Robertson: ECB App. No. 1200319 (6/27/13)
Landlord's Negligence: Landlord Not Responsible for Attack on Tenant's Visitor
Tenant's niece sued landlord NYCHA, claiming that she was injured in an attack in the building's elevator on her way to visit tenant at tenant's seventh-floor apartment. The niece lived in a different building in the same complex. Landlord claimed that the entrance door was in good working order on the day the niece was attacked and asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial. The court ruled against landlord.
Landlord appealed and won. The building super stated in pre-trial testimony that he received daily reports regarding the condition of the entry door and lock, which were inspected every morning. If a problem was noted, he issued a work ticket for the necessary repair. There was no report of any problem on the day in question, and no proof that the door lock was defective. The niece entered the building using her front door key. Landlord can't insure the safety of people who enter the building and the immediate cause of the niece's injuries was the criminal attack committed by two men who had entered the building and got into the elevator with her.
- Batista v. City of New York: 2013 NY Slip Op 05502, 2013 WL 3880145 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 7/30/13)