Victor M. Metsch's blog
A tenant who flouts building rules and disregards the city’s mask mandate is likely to spark complaints from neighbors and staff members who are concerned about their health. The eviction moratorium doesn’t mean a landlord can’t take the matter to court. Consider the recent case of a Brooklyn landlord who sought injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order against a tenant based upon nuisance conduct that created health and safety risks affecting other occupants of the building.
When landlords take tenants to court over nonpayment of rent, tenants often claim as a defense that the landlord breached the warranty of habitability. But, as a recent case illustrates, a tenant may preemptively claim such a breach before a landlord acts to evict—and argue not only that that the breach was aggravated by the pandemic, but that it amounted to harassment for which the tenant should be awarded a civil penalty.