Landlord Can't Claim Illegal Lockout by Tenant
LVT Number: #32075
Landlord sued tenant, claiming illegal lockout under RPAPL Section 713(10) and commencing the case by order to show cause. The Housing Court initially declined to sign landlord's order to show cause, finding that landlord had failed to state a cause of action. Landlord then filed an application to the Supreme Court Appellate Term under CPLR 5704(b). That court granted landlord's application, and the case was calendared in the illegal lockout part of Housing Court.
Attorneys for landlord and tenant submitted a proposed settlement stipulation to the court, but the court rejected the stipulation. The court explained that landlord wasn't ousted from the apartment. A leasing agent had rented the apartment to tenant, a lease was signed, and keys were delivered. Landlord's court papers claimed that the lease wasn't valid, but this does not and cannot constitute an ouster under RPAPL Section 713(10). A failure to exercise due diligence in renting an apartment is not the basis for an alleged illegal lockout proceeding. Landlord's remedy would be to file a holdover proceeding in Housing Court, or to file an action in Supreme Court for declaratory relief.
The court further stated that landlord's alleged illegal lockout case seeks to circumvent the predicate notice provisions required by Article 7 of the RPAPL. An alleged illegal lockout proceeding is meant to address an emergency and to determine if someone should be restored to possession after an ouster has occurred without the benefit of legal process. In addition, the parties' stipulation contained provisions and admissions that were potentially incompatible with the U.S. and New York State Constitutions, and the court therefore declined to approve it. The Housing Court also wasn't authorized to hear claims under the penal law that would require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
88 Ave. Realty De LLC v. Castro: Index No. L&T 302691/22, 2022 NY Slip Op 22168 (Civ. Ct. Queens; 5/19/22; Sanchez, J)