Landlord Promptly Started Eviction Proceedings Against Squatters

August 28, 2017
LVT Number: #27885

DOB issued six violation notices to landlord, in connection with illegal building alterations contrary to the building's Certificate of Occupancy. DOB's inspector found that, among other things, landlord had altered a two-family dwelling to add a Class "A" apartment to the cellar and six SRO units on the first and second floors. Landlord said that he bought the building in 2004, that it was vacant at that time, and that, in November 2016, he discovered squatters had broken in and were living in the building. He hired an attorney and it took about 11 months to get the squatters evicted. Landlord claimed that the squatters did the illegal alterations. The ALJ ruled against landlord, finding that he didn't start eviction proceedings until months after the violations were issued. The ALJ fined landlord $53,800.

Landlord appealed and won. Landlord made a mistake before the ALJ. He had stated that he discovered the squatters in November 2016, but in fact he discovered them in November 2015 and started eviction proceedings in December 2015. Landlord's documents from the court case proved this. So landlord started the case to remove the squatters at least six months before the violations were issued. ECB revoked the fine. [Download PDF of decision here.]

Landsman: ECB App. No. 1700481 (7/6/17) [6-pg. doc.]