Chronic Late-Paying Tenant Not a Nuisance
LVT Number: 10608
Facts: Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant for nuisance based on chronic late payment of rent. Tenant had lived in the apartment for over 33 years. During the past nine years, she paid her rent on the average of two weeks late and owed no back rent. During that time, landlord had started only two nonpayment proceedings against tenant. Tenant pointed out that before 1988, her ex-husband paid her rent directly to landlord. Since then, all alimony was paid directly to her. The alimony was due at the beginning of each month but was always late. The trial court and appeals court ruled against landlord, and landlord appealed again. Court: Landlord loses. Tenant's actions weren't willful, unjustified, or intended to harass landlord and didn't rise to the level of a nuisance, which would warrant eviction. Landlord had started only two nonpayment proceedings in nine years. And in 33 years (or 363 months) tenant's rent was more than 30 days late only 11 times. The last time this happened was in 1989. Landlord never brought nonpayment proceedings in those instances, and the rent was always paid shortly thereafter.
Sharp v. Norwood: NYLJ, p. 25, col. 3 (5/23/96) (App. Div. 1 Dept.; Sullivan, JP, Ellerin, Ross, Tom, Mazzarelli, JJ)