HPD Can't Seek Civil Penalties from Landlord in Tenant's HP Proceeding
LVT Number: #31425
Tenant sued landlord in housing court in an HP proceeding, seeking correction of specified conditions that violated the Housing Maintenance Code (HMC). HPD later asked the court to hold landlord in contempt and impose civil penalties for failure to correct the violations. The court ruled against HPD. Although provisions of the HMC permit HPD to enforce the HMC by commencing actions in court to recover civil penalties and to obtain an injunction requiring the correction of violations, nothing in the law gave HPD the procedural privileges it sought in this case. HPD in effect sought to act as a petitioner when it hadn't filed any petition or complaint and was merely appearing in the proceeding as a nominal party. And, while Civil Court Act Section 110(c) permitted the court to use any remedy authorized by law for the enforcement of housing standards, it didn't grant the court a blank check. Also, in this case, HPD wasn't made a party to the tenant-initiated HP proceeding and HPD hadn't filed a cross-claim against landlord. So HPD can't seek civil penalties or hold landlord in contempt in this case.
Hayes v. Toju Realty Corp.: Index No. 6220/19, 2021 NY Slip Op 21099 (Civ. Ct. Kings; 4/16/21; Weisberg, J)