Landlord Who Didn't Correct Violations Fined Over $20,000
LVT Number: #31623
Tenant sued landlord in housing court, seeking correction of certain Housing Maintenance Code violations. HPD conducted an inspection in response and issued 17 violations, including two Class "C" immediately hazardous violations for positive tests finding lead-based paint in tenant's kitchen and bedroom. Other violations were placed for a water leak in the bathroom ceiling, a mold condition in the bedroom closet, an inoperable intercom system, and an illegal drop ceiling in the bathroom. On March 3, 2021, the court issued an order directing landlord to correct the open violations by certain dates and in a particular manner. Tenant later claimed that landlord failed to comply with the court's correction order and asked the court to hold landlord in contempt of court. Landlord claimed that it had been trying diligently to correct the violations.
The court ruled for tenant, who showed that landlord had failed to provide timely dust wipes demonstrating that the affected areas were safe from lead paint violations and failed to correct the ceiling leak and intercom system. And neither good faith efforts nor substantial compliance are defenses to a contempt finding. The court imposed a daily fine of $350, payable to tenant, for every day after the date of its Aug. 17, 2021, order that landlord didn't complete bathroom ceiling and intercom repairs. The court ordered the maximum penalty of $10,000 for each of the two lead paint violations, based on a daily penalty of $250 for each day after April 1, 2021, when that violation had been ordered to be corrected. The court also ordered daily penalties for other violations, totalling $170 for the bathroom ceiling leak and $125 for the broken intercom.
Anumudu v. Bennett: Index No. L&T 300236-21, 2021 NY Slip Op 50805(U)(Civ. Ct. Bronx; 8/16/21; Bacdayan, J)