Landlord Liable for Property Damage
LVT Number: 9788
Facts: Tenant sued landlord, claiming that the vestibule door of the building had a faulty locking mechanism. Tenant claimed that as a result burglars got into the building and stole various items from her apartment. Tenant claimed that landlord's inaction violated the warranty of habitability. Tenant said she had informed landlord of a prior building break-in. In addition, her apartment door was in bad condition; the wood around the doorjamb had rotted. Landlord denied being notified of any condition and claimed that tenant hadn't been robbed. Court: Tenant wins. Landlord breached the warranty of habitability. Real Property Law section 235-b states that the failure to provide a certain degree of security against the predictable criminal conduct of others is ìdangerous, hazardous or detrimentalî to tenants life, health, or safety. The remedies available for such breach aren't limited to rent reduction; tenant can recover property damages. In this case, the court awarded tenant almost $3,000 in damages.
Martin v. Caputo: NYLJ, p. 33, col. 3 (5/10/95)(Civ. Ct. Queens; Schmidt, J)