100 Percent Abatement for Dust, Mold Condition
LVT Number: 18407
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenant for nonpayment of rent. Tenant's rent was $2,750 per month. Tenant claimed breach of the warranty of habitability. She had complained to landlord about a dust and mold condition in her apartment, which was right above the basement. After flooding, landlord hired contractors to renovate the basement and remove an old oil tank. Tenant claimed that their work stirred up metallic dust and fungus that entered her apartment through a dumb-waiter shaft and cracks in the floor. Previously, she had been healthy and physically active. She testified that she became sick a number of times, suffering from rashes, shortness of breath, and dizziness. She required hospitalization several times, and had to move out of the apartment. Every time she went back to the apartment for brief periods, she became ill. Court: Landlord loses. At trial, both tenant and landlord presented expert witnesses who testified about the effects of mold. The experts didn't really prove anything. But tenant credibly testified about the conditions and their effects on her. And landlord did nothing to investigate tenant's complaint or to acknowledge the problem. The court gave tenant a 100 percent rent abatement for seven months.
360 West 51st St. v. Cornell: NYLJ, 9/6/05, p. 18, col. 1 (Civ. Ct. NY; Cavallo, J)