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Law Offices of Karen Takach, PLLC                        (646) 688-5209

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Landmark Cases

Second Lenox Terrace Assoc. v. Angela Cuevas

[24 Misc 3d 1217(A) (Civ. Ct. NY Co., 2009)]

Link to actual decision: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2009/2009_51507.htm

The Court granted the tenant's motion to vacate the October 31, 2005 stipulation as void as against public policy, since the stipulation acted to evade the rent stabilization scheme and subvert the protections afforded by rent stabilization. The tenant had been sued as a licensee in 2005, and gave up any succession rights she may have had, in return for a two-year non-stabilized lease at double the rent. 

The Court held that since the apartment at issue was subject to rent stabilization prior to the stipulation and the stipulation was void as against public policy, the apartment continued to be covered by the rent stabilization law.

 Significance of this decision:  Landlords and tenants are not allowed to evade the Rent Stabilization Law by private agreement.  Any such agreement is void from the start, and the tenant must be recognized as Rent-Stabilized.

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 512 East 11th Street HDFC v. Carl Grimmet

[181 A.D.2d 488, 581 N.Y.S.2d 24 ( 1st Dept. 1992)]

A low-income coop, formerly a city owned buidling, was attempting to evict the tenant on a “no cause” holdover.  Eviction of a Rent-Stabilized tenant requires cause other than the expiration of a lease, which was the ground alleged in this holdover proceeding. 

The Court dismissed the Petition finding that the government was sufficiently “entwined” with the subject premises so as to trigger constitutional due process protections requiring notice of the reasons for an eviction.  The significance of this decision is that it significantly increased protection for tenants in such buildings, since all co-op plans under programs for previously city-owned buildings were considered to be eviction plans, meaning that any non-purchasing tenant could be evicted after three years for no reason. 

Because the Court held that due process consideration were involved, the Court noted that one of the due process guarantees was that a tenant was entitled to notice of the alleged cause for eviction and procedural due process in the determination of whether such cause exists.  The Court therefore granted the tenant's motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the landlord failed to provide the constitutionally-mandated notice of basis for eviction.

Significance of this decision:  Tenants who were previously seen as having no defense against eviction were recognized as having due process protections, so that they could only be evicted for cause. 

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Minerva Perez v. Brian Wing, Commissioner NYS Department of Social Services

[263 A.D.2d 391, 693 N.Y.S.2d 126 (1st Dept. 1999)]

The tenant had been denied emergency assistance to avoid eviction, and she sought judicial review of the denial.  The Court held that denial of this application was not supported by record, since the circumstances which gave rise to the tenant's application were a result of sudden and unforeseeable events, namely the illness and death of a relative and the temporary guardianship of the deceased relative's children, rather than the demands of everyday life.  The City dragged out the process so that the tenant's denial of assistance became the subject of three hearings, the last after an evidentiary remand by the court. The Appellate Court decided that, given the resulting delay, it was improper for the City to consider the tenant's changed circumstances after the initial denial of her emergency application, in denying her aid after the third hearing.  The City's decision was reversed, and the tenant ended up getting over $11,000 in emergency aid from the City to prevent the eviction of her and her family.

Significance of this decision:  The City as a general rule will not follow their own laws and regulations regarding emergency assistance, but rather tend to have a knee-jerk reaction of denial, especially if the arrears sought are a large amount.  Aggressive advocacy can force the City to follow its own rules, and prevent the eviction of tenants legally entitled to assistance.           


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