Landlord Must Continue Preferential Rent
LVT Number: #22602
Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized tenant for refusing to sign her renewal lease. Tenant claimed that the renewal lease was offered at an incorrect rent because she was given a lifetime preferential rent when she moved in. The court ruled for tenant without a trial, finding that tenant’s rent-stabilized lease must be renewed on the same terms and conditions as her prior lease. Landlord appealed, and the appeals court sent the case back for a hearing on whether the preferential rent rider was open-ended or could be discontinued.
The court then found that prior landlord offered tenant a preferential rent, which she understood was for a lifetime, in return for renovations to the apartment that tenant would make and pay for herself. The fact that landlord didn’t raise tenant’s rent in prior three renewal leases supported tenant’s claim. The rider didn’t clearly indicate whether the preferential rent was for a limited time or indefinite. Since it was unclear, the rider must be interpreted against the prior landlord who wrote it and, therefore, against current landlord.
East Side Managers Associates, Inc. v. Goodwin: NYLJ, 4/7/10, p. 26, col. 3 (Civ. Ct. NY; Lebovits, J)