Landlord v. Tenant: September 2018
Landlord Not Responsible for Unauthorized Work Performed by Super
An independent contractor who performed flooring work in tenant's apartment sued landlord for payment for the work and for actions by the building super, who assisted with the work. The court granted landlord's request to dismiss the case. The contractor appealed and lost. The super recommended the contractor to tenant, who wanted flooring work done in her apartment. But the super wasn't acting on landlord's behalf, and landlord had nothing to do with any agreement to perform or pay for the work that tenant requested. So landlord wasn't responsible for the results of the means and methods used by the independent contractor, which it didn't hire and over which it had no control.
- Sampedro v. Ellwood Realty, LLC: 2018 NY Slip Op 05120, 2018 WL 3351533 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 7/10/18)
Landlord Proves Tenant Didn't Primarily Reside in Apartment
Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized tenant based on nonprimary residence. The trial court ruled for landlord. Tenant's 2001 marriage certificate, 2011 driver's license, and voter registration listed another address as tenant's residence. Tenant submitted no tax returns, income statements, bank records, credit card statements, utility bills, or any other documentation listing the apartment as his address. Tenant's testimony wasn't credible. He didn't remember when he moved into the apartment, and stated that he was frequently out of state on jobs between 2012 and 2014, but didn't remember how much time he spent on those jobs.
- 930-940 LLC v. Quashie: Index No. 75966/14 (Civ. Ct. Kings; 6/4/18)
Substantial Increase in Rent Based on IAIs Didn't Indicate Fraud
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge, and claimed fraud in how landlord set the rent. Tenant moved into the apartment in 2016 under a one-year vacancy lease charging a legal regulated rent of $3,177 per month and a preferential rent of $2,450 per month. Prior tenant paid $697 per month. While not required to do so, landlord showed that it set tenant's pre-base date rent by adding a vacancy increase, longevity bonus, and additional rent increase based on individual apartment improvements (IAIs) costing $57,635. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding no overcharge since all rent increases following the base date rent of $2,471 were lawful.
Tenant appealed and lost. Tenant presented no proof of a fraudulent scheme to deregulate the apartment that would have warranted investigation of specific rental events prior to that date. A mere increase in rent alone, without more, isn't sufficient to require the agency to investigate beyond the four-year base date. Although tenant argued that DOB hadn't issued any permits for the IAIs, the DHCR typically didn't find such permits required when reviewing rent history records. And landlord properly acknowledged the building's J-51 tax benefit status by maintaining the high-rent apartment as rent stabilized.
- Terry: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. FW410050RT (6/6/18)