Landlord's Incapacity Doesn't Excuse Violations
LVT Number: #24628
DOS issued 24 violations to landlord between August 2007 and May 2010 for failing to separate recyclables from other trash, improper storage of receptacles, failing to keep the sidewalk in front of her building clean, and for leaving snow, loose rubbish, and ice and dirt on the sidewalk. Landlord was fined $2,400 after failing to respond to the violation notices. Her attorney got the proceedings reopened and asked the ALJ to excuse landlord because she was incapacitated. The ALJ ruled against landlord, who appealed and lost. Landlord's attorney had argued that, in order to avoid a court finding of incompetency in a court proceeding brought by the city in 2005, landlord had consented to the appointment of a special guardian selected by the court. But there had been problems between landlord and several appointed guardians. There was insufficient proof of mental impairment, and landlords who are physically infirm remain liable for any failure by their hired help to keep the front of the building clean. Before the ALJ, landlord's attorney admitted that landlord hadn't been declared mentally incompetent or incapacitated by a court, didn't submit to the ALJ a copy of the court order appointing the special guardian, stated that landlord had been in a nursing home and not a psychiatric facility during the period in question, stated that landlord had hired a lawyer to secure removal of the first guardian appointed, and stated that landlord now lived at home with the assistance of aides.
Sandecki: ECB App. No. 1200423 (9/26/12) [4-pg. doc.]