Chronic Late Payment Doesn't Amount to Nuisance
LVT Number: 11497
Facts: Landlord, who owned an apartment in a cooperative building, sued to evict rent-controlled tenant for nonpayment of rent. Landlord claimed that tenant's chronic late payment of rent constituted a nuisance. The court ruled against landlord and dismissed the case. Landlord appealed. The appeals court reopened the case and sent it back for trial. The trial court again ruled against landlord, finding that tenant's behavior didn't rise to the level of nuisance. Landlord appealed. The Appellate Term and Appellate Division both ruled against landlord, and landlord appealed to the Court of Appeals. Court: Landlord loses. Landlord claimed that he had to repeatedly send rent demands and begin nonpayment proceedings against tenant. But this didn't rise to the level of a ``nuisance.'' To prove nuisance, landlord must show that tenant's conduct interfered with the use or enjoyment of the property. Landlord showed no proof of this. Tenant's actions might constitute a substantial violation of the lease. But landlord didn't sue to evict tenant for this reason.
Sharp v. Norwood: NYLJ, p. 28, col. 3 (5/9/97) (Ct. App.; Kaye, CJ, Titone, Bellacosa, Smith, Levine, Ciparick, Wesley, JJ)