Invalid C of O Bars Collection of Rent
LVT Number: #22072
Landlord sued to evict tenant for nonpayment of rent. Tenant claimed that there was no valid Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the building, so landlord couldn’t maintain a claim for rent. Landlord argued that the only illegal portion of the building was the cellar and that this didn’t affect tenant’s obligation to pay rent. The court ruled for tenant and dismissed the case. Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) Section 301 provides that no multiple dwelling should be occupied without a C of O. MDL Section 302(1)(b) bars landlord from collecting rent or starting a nonpayment proceeding when the C of O was invalid. DOB inspection had found violations, and after a hearing, the building’s C of O was invalidated. Since DOB had deemed the entire building to be without a valid C of O, and tenant didn’t create the illegal condition, the case must be dismissed.
58 E. 130th St. LLC v. Mouton: NYLJ, 7/29/09, p. 26, col. 1 (Civ. Ct. NY; Martino, J)